The Disappearance of Childhood Debate Essay

The Disappearance of Childhood Debate Essay

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This paper will critically discuss the ‘disappearance of childhood’ debate which centres on electronic media and consider why such a debate has come into existence. This essay will critically discuss both sides of the debate that is the disappearance proponents and those who are more optimistic about the effects of technology on the lives of children. In response to both arguments, I will propose that there is a new concept of childhood which has evolved throughout history; this concept is one of changing childhoods for a whole variety of reasons. It is noteworthy that these arguments are developed from American and European opinions and do not necessarily reflect the experience of children internationally.

There are proponents of the debate that childhood is disappearing which will be discussed in this section which include Postman (1983), Elkind (1981) and Palmer (2006). In considering these points of view which are mostly American, one must firstly set in context what is meant by the disappearance or erosion of childhood. This key debate centres on Postman (1983) who wrote “The disappearance of childhood” which is a contentious book about how childhood as a social category which is separate from adulthood is eroding. He defines a point where childhood came into existence, which was treated as a special phase in the middle ages based on the work of Aries in his book “Centuries of childhood” (1962, cited in Postman 1983). According to Postman, a major influence on how childhood was perceived differently to adulthood was the invention of the printing press and literacy in the mid sixteenth century. That is to say children had to learn to read before the secrets of adulthood in particular sex and violence was available...


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...01). Childhood and Society: Growing up in Age of Uncertainty. Buckingham: Open University Press.
Palmer, S. (2006). Toxic Childhood: how the modern world is damaging our children and what we can do about it . London: Orion Books Ltd.
Postman, N. (1983). The disappearance of childhood. London: W.H.Allen.
Prout, A. (2005). The Future of Childhood . London: Routledge Falmer.
Schmitt, K. L., Duyuck Woolf, K., & Anderson, D. R. (2003, June). iewing the Viewers: Viewing Behaviours by Children and Adults During Teleision Programmes and Commericals. Journal of Communication , 265-281.
Tapscott, D. (1998). Growing Up Digital: The rise of the net generation. New York, NY: Mc-Graw Hill Companies Inc. .
Valentine, G., & Holloway, S. (2002). Cyberkids? Exploring Children's Identities and Social Neworks in On-Line and Off-Line Worlds . Annal of American Geographers , 302-319.

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