The Loss of Childhood Innocence
The Loss of Childhood Innocence 9/28/15
Knowledge is a powerful tool in the hands of man. Knowledge can both help and hurt people, build and destroy relationships and help determine right from wrong. Because of its power, children are taught to seek knowledge at a rapid pace, which could lead to both a revolutionary and destructive future if it continues. At the wrong time, this knowledge could potentially teach children inappropriate behaviors. Parents believe that exposing their children to vasts amount of knowledge at a young age will aid them in adulthood, however, what they don’t know is that this knowledge could at the same time ruin their innocence.
First, it is important to define what knowledge truly means and everything it entails. According to Dictionary.com, the definition of knowledge is, “the fact or state of knowing; the perception of fact or truth; clear and certain mental apprehension.” When a child first learns the concept of right from wrong, they learn the truth of what is morally acceptable to do and what not to do. Usually, parents and teachers don’t go into detail of what truly constitutes as right and wrong, but instead, a basic black and white explanation, not going into the greys in between. This was to protect the innocence of a child, but times have changed from then. Parents now are so focused on building their children up for “success” that they forget to realize they are opening up a dangerous Pandora’s Box.
A poll was taken in February 2015 on parents and childhood stimulation, where over 87 per cent of parents said they believed that the more stimulation a child received, the more successful they would be. From seeing that so many parents agree that more stimulation equals more success, it’s safe to say that they are right to an extent. Yes things like stimulation, knowledge and wisdom are key to a successful life as an adult but everything should be done in moderation. This concept that 87% of parents agree on, looks over very important stages of development. Stages that are necessary for further social development
In an article published by the New York Times about the loss of childhood innocence, information came from a Fourth grade teacher in Denver, Colorado talking about a student in her class. the article states, “ As the teacher reported, ''Kids are a lot freer now. Even in the 10 years I've been at this school, there's been a change. The other day, a very innocent-looking little boy came up to me and casually asked me whether a certain sexual act was 'for real.' He used a crude word for it. I asked him to whisper in my ear what he thought the word meant. Well, he knew more details than I myself knew until about five years ago.” This information supports my thesis because it talks about a child who learned about a certain sexual act that clearly shocked and upset the teacher. It’s likely that prior to learning about the sexual act, the boy knew very little to nothing about sex. By gaining the knowledge of this, the boy’s innocence was lost and born from that loss was the curiosity to find out if what he had learned was true. His thirst for knowledge drove him to want to seek answers to this concept that he knew nothing about but craved to learn.
Even if parents attempt to bring up a child in the best way possible, they must be aware of the influence the outside world has. Parents must be careful of what their children get exposed, to such as the sexualization of young children. Things like this, specifically the sexualization of young girls, can be a huge factor in the loss of innocence. In 2012, researchers did a study to identify self sexualization in young girls and identify factors that protect girls from objectifying themselves. Also psychologists at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois assessed self sexualization in girls, ages 6-9 through the use of paper dolls. The assessment goes on to say that, “Across-the-board, girls chose the "sexy" doll most often. The results were significant in two categories: 68 percent of the girls said the doll looked how she wanted to look, and 72 percent said she was more popular than the non-sexy doll.” Other studies have shown that “sexiness” boosts popularity in girls but not boys. Needless to say, young girls and boys should not have to feel the pressures popularity through sexualization. These pressures cause children to explore their sexuality at too young of an age and it needs to be stopped.
If parents ever want to combat the loss of childhood innocence, they need to be mindful of what their children are exposed to. They need to focus on nurturing their children instead of being too concerned with success that loose sight of what is important. Parents are responsible for teaching their children what they will need later in life but everything must be done in moderation. If this is not done their might be irreparable damage done to children because of the actions of their parents.
Winn, Marie. "THE LOSS OF CHILDHOOD." The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 May 1983. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
2. "Knowledge." Dictionary.com. Dictionary.com, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 2015.
3. Abbasi, Jennifer. "Why 6-Year-Old Girls Want To Be Sexy (STUDY)."Huffington Post. LiveScience, 16 July 2012. Web.
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