Societal Factors That Can Affect the Teens’ Behavior

There is no doubt that society plays a significant role in shaping an individual’s character. For teens, society hones their ability to live with other people, gives them ideas of what is wrong and right and eventually, hones their general outlook in life. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, the strongest influence on the teen’s adult life is the parents. By understanding the influence of various aspects of society on a teen, it will help you nurture its character as well as its individuality.

There are a number of societal influences that can affect the teen’s behavior. From the media to peers, a lot of societal factors can shape the ways in which they act. While society isn’t the only factor in an adolescent’s behavior, the effect of its influences can alter changes in attitudes or some values.


Advertising is also another factor that can influence a teen’s behavior. It affects not only how a child acts but also their spending habits. According to the child development experts at the Healthy Children website, cigarette ads for example can negatively influence a teen’s ideas and thoughts with regards to smoking. Without proper guidance, ads that feature young and attractive people smoking can make this unhealthful habit seem acceptable or even appealing. One risk with advertising is that it glorifies or sells risky behaviors. As a result, it affects on the way a teen spends their money. With advertising, teens may think that it’s acceptable to spend hard-earned money on pricey or unnecessary items like designer label jeans.


Meanwhile, the community sets rules that can help form a teenager’s ideas of what is right and wrong. Teens may have a better understanding of acceptable behavior and consequences of doing wrong, as set by communal laws. With consequences like imprisonment, such understanding may help your teen to choose the right behavior. In addition to that, the community also helps create cultural and environmental awareness. The interaction with various members of the community will also influence the teen to learn to care for the environment, neighbors and the less fortunate.

Media Influences

With TV, movies, online videos and all other media sources out there, it is expected that these societal influences can somehow shape your teen’s behavior either for good or for bad. As the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Healthy Children website recommends, parents should watch for media influences. These include acts of violence, alcohol, sexual situations, statements about body image, and drug use, and gender or cultural stereotypes. While your teen might seem immune to what the media is already saying, parents should still have caution since some messages can slowly begin to sink in and encourage risky behaviors like underage drinking or unprotected sex seem.


The schools as well as subsequent social environments are parts of society that wield a communal influence on teens. Take note that every junior and senior high school setting is quite different in some way. This produces a community that adheres or disregards certain behaviors. They could make changes to their beliefs due to the predominant school views.

Society and Laws

There are some aspects of society that can have a positive influence on teens. They become more aware of legal issues and society’s laws. During their adolescent period, they have the ability to understand legalities in a more abstract way. Such information will definitely help teens to think twice before engaging in any illegal or risky activity. However, this doesn’t guaranty that teens will not experiment with illegal substances just because the law says “no.” Instead, they will think harder about the choices they are going to make in light of the consequences.

Society and Norms

What is a society? It is an organized group of people living together in an ordered community with a particular purpose, interest, and activity. The society is also composed of social groups which have an interaction between one another and serve a specific goal and principle.

The following are the elements of society:

Territory. Most countries have formal boundaries and territory that the world recognizes as theirs. However, the boundaries don’t need to have geopolitical borders, such as the border between the United States and Canada. Instead, both members and nonmembers of a society, must recognize the particular land as belonging to that society.

Interaction. Members of a society must come in contact with one another. If a person remains off or no regular contact with another person, therefore, these persons cannot be considered part of the one society. Geographic distance and language barriers can separate societies within a country.

Culture. People of the same society share aspects of their culture, such as language or beliefs. This refers to the language used by everyone in the society, their values, beliefs, behavior, and material objects that embody a people’s way of living. It is a defining element of society.

Society today has changed due to the different technological developments which propelled humans as well as the elements mentioned above, to be part of the new age.

An industrial society uses new sources of energy, rather than humans and animals, to use large apparatus. Industrialization began in the mid-1700s, when Great Britain first used a steam engine as a means of running other machines. The twentieth century made industrialized societies change dramatically:

People and goods traversed much longer distance because of innovations in transportation, such as the train and the steamship.

Population in rural areas is reducing due to the large mass of people who were engaged in factory work and had to move to the cities.

In agriculture, only few people were needed in the production of goods, and societies became urbanized, which means that the majority of the population lived within commuting distance of a major city.

Suburbs were raised around the cities to provide city-dwellers with alternative places to live.

The twentieth century brought sudden, but innovative changes in our society, including the people who live therein. Aside from having industries and modern inventions, we now have a more developed and more organized ways of transportation and communication.

As industrialized societies become more substantial, they evolve into large, impersonal mass societies. In a mass society, a person’s achievement is valued over kinship ties, and people often feel isolation. Personal incomes inflated, and there is absolute diversity among people.

Every society has expectations about how its members should and should not behave. A norm is a guideline or an expectation for behavior. Each society has its own rules for behavior and decides when those rules have been violated and what to do about it. Norms basically change on a regular basis.

Norms differ widely among societies, and they even differ from group to group within the same society.

Different settings: Wherever we go, expectations towards behavior come first. Even within the same society, these norms change from setting to setting.

Different countries: Norms are specific to places, and what is considered appropriate in one country may be considered highly inappropriate in another.

Different time periods: Appropriate and inappropriate behavior often changes dramatically from generation to generation. Norms can and do shift over time.

Sociologists differentiated four categories of norm:

Folkways. A folkway is a norm of everyday behavior that people follow for the sake of convenience or tradition. Folkways are a practice done by people. Violating a folkway does not usually have serious consequences.

Mores. A more is a norm situated on morality, or the definition of right and wrong. Since mores have moral importance, people violating a more usually results in disapproval.

Laws. A law is a norm that is enacted and promulgated by a legitimate authority. Violating these laws will result in a specific sanction and punishment.