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Death of Childhood - Essay Example

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Michael Jackson's biographer described this icon of the 21st century as "the man who was never a child and the child that never grew up." This essay will evaluate the view that in the 21st century we are witnessing the death of childhood. To do so we will compare and contrast the sociological views of Postman, Aries and other key sociologists.
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Death of Childhood

Download file to see previous pages... Neither of these two scenarios exactly matches the conservative view of childhood. Since the sociologist Durkheim defined education as,"The influence exercised by the adult generation on those who are not yet ready for adult life."(Dubey p 184) -could it be that we are influencing our kids to grow up too soon Anti-aids campaigns in schools do not help matters since they tend to indoctrinate a child on the methods of safe sex, long before he/she feels the urge to have any.
If we take Rousseau's view that childhood is a time of innocence, then we could agree with Postman who says that we are witnessing the death of childhood or innocence in the 21st century thanks to the media, which is full of explicit sex and violence as well as internet pornography. But this is a very one sided view because the affect of TV and the internet can also have positive educational affects. "TV has multiple uses and a variety of featureswhat exactly is this thing A reliable companion A teacher A warehouse full of stories....it is all of these things" Fisherkeller p. 9 (2002)
With the sea of change that is taking place both technically as well as culturally it is often felt that things are no longer the way they used to be. "The claim that childhood has been lost has been one of the most popular laments of the closing years of the 20th century we no longer seem to know where childhood can be found."(Buckingham p3)
Postman is of the view that parents of the 21st century tend to treat their children as adults while behaving like children themselves. He defends his view by pointing out that children's games like 'hide and seek' and 'hopscotch' are fast disappearing. According to Postman childhood as a social phenomenon began with the invention of printing. This created a world of adult 'secrets' in books and so children were required to be protected from these secrets through schools, special clothing and sheltering from sexual knowledge. Hence the idea of 'for adults only' began.
The Western Mail is also of the view that children can no longer enjoy their childhood but due a different reason, ill health. This is because as industrialized societies grow in affluence children start to suffer from adult diseases like cancer and diabetes. In that sense this source argues, children have been robbed of the carefree health and happiness of childhood (Western Mail, 2006).Similarly a child watching TV argues Postman, can quickly learn about sex and violence or pick up dirty words and can therefore loose their child-like innocence and carefree nature As a result young girls get a bikini wax done and six year olds attend soccer camp. Due to these reasons, argues Postman we are witnessing the death of childhood in the 21st century. Since parents find it difficult to control over electronic media.
Like Postman, Palmer too is of the view that electronic technologies like the television and the internet are corrupting the experience of childhood. As a result of this, " Every year children become more distractible, impulsive and self-obsessed - less able to learn, to enjoy life, to thrive socially."(Palmer 2006) This is because children are having toxic experiences due to the lack of a stable and peaceful environment and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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