Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Paradoxes of Childhood

Found the following in Sonia Livingstone's book Young People & New Media, taken from an article by J.Qvortrup (my comments in yellow):
  • Adults want and like children, but are producing fewer and fewer of them, whilst society is providing less time and space for them (maybe children are desired for different purposes; in agricultural societies, more kids meant more workers; nowadays, kids are like legacy-carriers, no?)
  • Adults believe it is good for children and parents to be together, but more and more they live their everyday lives apart from each other (ah, the scourge of the money jungle...)
  • Adults appreciate the spontaneity of children, but children's lives are more and more organised (we can't help it! homework, classes, tuition - it's all for their own good, right?!)
  • Adults state that children be given first priority, but most economic and political decisions are made without having children in mind (you mean such decisions are supposed to have people in mind at all? *grin*)
  • Most adults believe that it is best for children that parents assume the major responsibility for them, but, structurally, parents' conditions for assuming this role are systematically eroded (part and parcel of the specialisation of roles, I guess...you got professional cleaners, professional managers, professional writers, professional parenting-ers?)
  • Adults agree that children must be given the best start in life, but children belong to society's less affluent groups (it's true that the poor folks in society are the ones least educated about sex, contraception, etc.)
  • Adulst agree that children must be educated to freedom and democracy, but society's provision is given mostly in terms of control, disicpline and management (we're still educating from the 19th century, sigh)
  • Schools are generally seen by adults as important for society, but children's contribution to knowledge production is not recognised as valuable (lest teachers and professors run out of work?)
  • In materials terms, childhood is important for society rather than for parents themselves; neverthelss society leaves the bulk of expenses to parents and children (especially in Asia! But methinks the Western, especially Scandinavian, countries are one-up in this area)

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