Social Construction Of Childhood

1500 Words6 Pages
The social construction of childhood is the understanding that childhood is not a natural process, instead it emerges from social, historical and cultural practices, (Norozi and Moen, 2016). Furthermore, the social studies of childhood include the idea that children are social actors in their own right and are actively involved in the construction of their own lives (Prout and James, 1990). The focus of my photo report will be to discuss this view through the example of games. The images I will present, taken from the V&A Museum of Childhood, will develop the aforementioned idea further. Throughout my essay I will debate whether children are active in the construction of their childhood or whether children are dependent on society to construct it for them. The focus shall be on board games versus technology based games and how these have played a key role in socially constructing childhood. The working child in the late 18th and early 19th century aided to the household’s financial situation and were viewed as economically valuable for the parents (Zelitzer, 1985). This implies that children were seen as ‘little adults’ and the concept of childhood was non-existent. Children were a part of society but in the sense that they were contributing to society from an early age. Nevertheless, change began to emerge in the early 20th century. The adoption of romantic and blank slate discourses of childhood meant that childhood began to revolve around adult dependency (Mcnamee, 2016). Seeing the child as a child and no longer as little adults suggests that emphasis would now be given on the social development and happiness of childhood. To develop this, Jenks, 1996 stated that the Appolion view of childhood revolves around the idea of ... ... middle of paper ... ...dren should be economically valuable to society. And since the emergence of the modern construction of childhood, the focus has shifted to the happiness of a child. This shift has allowed for children to become better social agents in terms of child play and games. Alongside this, adults are meeting child’s preferences and creating games which are both socially and educationally beneficial. Yet by creating games which lack social and educational benefits and opening up the world of violent video games, adults have also socially constructed children as irresponsible. Due to a child’s subordinate position, by associating childhood with play, adults have unintentionally marginalised children as immature members of society (Wyness, 2012). To conclude, it is clear that the notion of childhood is everchanging and the position that a child occupies in society is not fixed.
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