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Examine Different Sociological Views on Changes in the Experience of Childhood in the Past 50 Years or so. (24 Marks)

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Submitted By laurendawsonoh
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According to Lloyd De Mause (1974) we’re only just ‘awakening from the nightmare’. This refers to how bad children were treated in the past. This is backed up by Aries who believes children are more protected, valued and cared for today, compared to the past where they were forced to work and treated as ‘mini adults’.
However, Postman (1994) disagrees with this and believes ‘childhood is disappearing at a dazzling speed’ due to the rise in television culture and the decline in the written media. When the written media was introduced, not many children were able to read or write, allowing their parents to control what their children could know. Within the past 50 years, the rise of the television culture has allowed children to learn these things without their parents telling them, causing a blur in the distinction between what a child and an adult knows. Palmer (2006) agrees with Postman and believes there is an emergence of ‘toxic childhood’. This is caused by technology, fast food, parents working longer hours to earn money and more tests being given to children while in education.
Despite this argument, organisations such as Save the Children are protecting children in 3rd world countries who are involved in events such as war. This is an example of the west imposing their ideas of childhood on the rest of the world. This suggests childhood is not disappearing, but becoming more widespread.
Hillman (1993) believes childhood has not improved for girls over the past 50 years. They are taught to do ‘girl’ things when growing up such as housework to help their mother out, whereas boys are allowed to go out on their bikes and play football etc. This is backed up by Brannen (1994) who carried out a study and found in children aged 15-16 girls were more likely to be dealt with strictly by Asian parents than any other ethnicity.
However, Marxists believe that…...

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