Children and Media

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As such, children were often asked, or forced, to give up their education and work from an early age. In a sense, they grew up much too quickly and took on roles that today we reserve strictly for adults. As we have read and discussed at length, the children in America during the 1800s and early 1900s often worked hard. While society today has evolved towards a changing perspective about what the function of children should be in the family, other cultures today in the world are still in the same cycle of child labor and a lost childhood. As Stephanie Coontz portrays, the traditional idea of a family in the 50’s and 60’s has gradually shifted as well. While children were largely cared for and given a good education, they were subject to performing certain gender roles that society had thrust upon them. Coontz contends that we have evolved as a society and that few individuals would ever want to revert to a time where gender roles were so rigid and racial lines limited what children were allowed to do and whom they were allowed to do it with (1998). In years gone by, the mother typically was able to do much of the child rearing on her own. This created the concept of the nuclear family and served America well for decades. Children typically knew their place in the family and they could usually depend on specific roles that their father and mother performed respectively. As will be discussed in the next section, however, this concept of childhood has changed in recent years as mothers are now increasingly in the workforce. This has created an effect where many more segments of society are involved in the raising of a child than ever seen before in history. In Africa, we have the tribal elders that… This essay approves that many would argue that the media has robbed today’s child of their innocence. Others would content that the media has taken the job of parenting and socializing out of the hands of mom and dad and put it solely in the lap of outside influences. For many concerned parents, this is frightening, as they seem to be losing control. As mentioned in class, this is a global phenomenon, and not one reserved solely for the West. In many respects, many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures have been in this state for quite some time. The reality, as well, is that the media will likely continue this role of being actively involved in way today’s young person experiences childhood. Their messages will be prevalent and will probably continue to be the motivating factor behind many of the decisions that are made and the behaviors that are exhibited on a daily basis. This report makes a conclusion that childhood has certainly not been lost, but in many countries around the world, it has been misdirected. Western countries may be looked up to today in terms of how children are treated and that way that society embraces them to be free, but other cultures do not often enjoy the same luxuries that we do. When there are few options available to the people, childhood becomes a foreign concept reserved only for the wealthy. Let us hope that the day soon comes when childhood truly becomes a concept that is available for everyone. Children need to be allowed to develop at their own pace, putting off adulthood as long as possible. That would be a marvelous day indeed.