Tuesday, September 10, 2013

“Our ideas about what is appropriate for children to do has changed radically over time.” We as Americans, went from a society that placed children into the workplace, to allowing children to play alone out in the street with friends, to now where children have GPS trackers on their I-Phones. At one point there were children who were capable to work starting at age four in factories to support the needs of their families. Today, people scowl at the idea of sending their children into daycare for eight hours. Has our society become a tad too soft towards children?

I realize that as a student without children of my own this is easier said than done, and I don’t doubt that one day I will be more protective of my own children then a lion with her cubs. I do think though, that today there are some parents that would rather put their children in a large plastic bubble and send them off to school rather than have them come home with one tiny scrape on their body.

I can remember as a child running around my neighborhood for hours and hours on end. When it was dark, I knew it was time to go home and have dinner. My parents did not stand outside watching me as I played with my friends, making sure that I would be okay. You know what though? I survived. There is a reason that childhood obesity has become an epidemic today. It is because, instead of going outside to play, children are glued to their television, computer, or I- Pad provided to them by their parents. These children have become lazy, droning zombies. While reading this article, I couldn’t help but run this thought through my head, that we have raised a generation of electronic junkie children. It is our own faults, we spend too much time on things like Facebook, Twitter, and Vine that we miss what is happening in front of our own eyes; life! We need to put down the phone, take it away from our children and get out to see the world around us. Let children go outside and play with their friends, and when they come home with a scrape…use a band aid! This is the reason that has inspired me to want to create activities and things for children to do, making sure they are getting involved physically, mentally, and emotionally with other children.

As I was reading “Child Labor and the Social Construction of Childhood” I tried to imagine even myself as a young child working all day to make a possible two dollars. I was lucky enough to not have to have a job until I was in high school, I could never imagine myself at the mere age of 6 sowing all day! Initially reading this article I was angry, thinking about these children blistering their little fingers over machines all day to support their families. Then I thought about our society today. Why have we gone in such an extreme opposite direction? Not that child labor is any where near my idea of morally correct. But when did we become so very, very soft to the point of harming children instead of helping them?

These kids don't mind getting their hands a little dirty!

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  1. I love your thinking here, and your blog makes me wonder where to focus attention -- individual children and how they spend their time? or is it the contexts of childhood that we all live and work in? It sounds like you are writing towards constructing highly interactive and engaging contexts for children and youth (alternatives to screen time!). Is this right?

  2. I meant to say, is this what you were thinking?