From the moment a baby takes their first breath, they immediately become a part of a group and a category in society. According to Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach by James M. Henslin, a group is made up “of people who think of themselves as belonging together and who interact with one another” and a category “is simply a statistic” of people who may share similar characteristics (Henslin). Groups make up all of society and influence how a person develops and who they become. The baby who just took its first breath developed a primary group with their family members and became a new statistic to the number of babies born in that year.Order now
The child will begin to develop their identity from the influences of its primary group and will thus start its life of being “shaped” by groups (Henslin). No matter how far the child may attempt to separate itself from the values and lifestyles of their primary group, it will forever be instilled in who they are (Henslin). As the child develops into an adult, it will become a part of a secondary group, one that is not intimate and is quite larger and has shared interests. As the child finds their likes and dislikes, they may choose to join a group of people who share their views, and this can influence the way the child may behave or respond to situations. The groups someone may associate with tends to say a lot about their character.
Personally, I belong to many groups and categories. I am a white, middle-class female and am apart of Generation Z. I live in south West Virginia and I am a part of the Christian faith. Like many others living in the area dubbed the “bible belt”, I share the same upbringing as them. We are all in the same category of being raised in church and taught to believe a certain way. The groups I have involved myself with think the same way I do on certain issues and we tend to live the same lifestyle. I am interested in excelling in my academics and going to college. I have placed myself in a group of people who also are interested in those things, while other groups in my grade are more interested in “vaping” and going out to parties. My groups and categories however, differ greatly from those of another region or culture.
For instance, an adolescent, Indian male is entirely different from me. I am a female adult while they are a young teen boy. The customs and religion they would be exposed to, would not be anything like the customs and religion I was exposed to. He will more than likely be raised leaning Hinduism while I was raised learning Christianity. He will want different things in life than me and think differently about a woman’s place in society than I would. An adolescent, British male will also differ greatly from an adolescent, Indian male. The two would have an entirely different ethnicity, culture, and more than likely religion. However, the two would share some common categories. They are both males and are both in the same age range. I would not be in the same ethnic, gender, or age category as either of them.
We now live in a day and age where our lives tend to revolve around technology. William Powers stated that current world philosophy is “connecting via screens is good” in Hamlet’s Blackberry. I do agree with this. I personally have joined more groups and made more friends through technology than I would have without it. My boyfriend is currently in the United States Marine Corps thirteen-week boot-camp and I am apart of several Facebook pages that apply to families, wives, and girlfriends that are in the same position I am in. It is a support group and allows me to find out information and ask questions. It has been an immense help to my peace of mind to know that when I am unsure of something, I have the ability to ask for guidance and see the stories and experiences of others. Being a member of these groups has made me feel like a I have a little family of Marine Corps relatives. In addition to this, the college I plan to attend has a Facebook page for their Class of 2023.
This page has allowed me to meet new people and make new friends before the school year even starts. I am going to this school by myself since my friends have chosen different schools than me, and this has allowed me to start new friendships early and may even help me pick my dorm mate. Without these groups, I would not have never made nearly as many friends as I already have. People join groups based off things they have in common and when joined on the internet, this can easily carry over into the real world. I plan to meet the friends I have made online through the Facebook page and become a part of a new friend groups that was made through the internet.
The digital world has had an immense impact on the number of groups being formed and joined. The internet acts as a gateway to join people who are not geographically close and form a bond. Those who have been through the process of USMC boot-camp with their sons, daughters, wives, husbands, etc., have formed the support group pages that I am a member of today based off their experience and information that they learned through other support pages on the internet. They found things that work and things that don’t, and all of that information was put together to form the page I look to for guidance now.
Many organizations and groups that have strong emotions towards a certain cause gain support through the internet. I know I follow many pages that share the same passions as me and it inspires me to take action against things in my life. The internet can easily spread out information to millions of people and encourage them to take action for or against a certain cause or idea. I do believe that in the near future many groups will not have a reason to meet in person if they are spread far geographically. Thanks to technology such as Facetime, Skype, and video chats, it is easier than ever to talk to someone and look at them without having to physically be with them. If a group wants to have a meeting, all they would have to do is form a group video chat call where they can all see and converse to each other without the hassle of physically meeting at a place.
This process is just easier and saves time/effort, so I do think many will choose to go this route instead. With the millions of groups that are out there to choose from, the internet allows access to nearly all of them and I do believe this will most definitely change the amount and type of cultural groups. With more access to different kinds of groups and ideas, many are likely to change the views their primary group originally taught them. They are not limited to just their viewpoints anymore, and this can easily change the way our world thinks and acts. It may cause a division between child and parents due to the different mind sets and lifestyles but may also bring the groups the child is a member of and their fellow group members closer due to the ease of communicating through the internet.
Our society is reaching an age of change and decisions. No longer are we limited to our surroundings and the ideas that are prevalent in that area. We have access to thousands of different groups that we can choose to follow and meeting up with them via the internet is much easier than before. The internet is changing our society greatly, but it will ultimately be up to us whether that is for the better or for the worse.