However the conflict view argues that childhood has not improved because massive inequalities still exist amongst children such as the control and oppression of adults. The March of progress view argues that society has recognised that childhood is a distinct phase in one’s life where children should be treated separately to adults. Children are more valued, cared for, protected and educated due to the introduction of various laws. The child labour act of 1938 restricts children from going into paid employment and protects them from the exploitation of working life. In 1870 it became compulsory for all children to receive an education which provides children with equal opportunities.
In addition, the high infant mortality rate meant that there was no emotional attachment between parents and their children. It wasn’t until the invention of the printing press in the 15th century that information became censored, resulting in children being treated differently to adults. Aries, like Postman argues that childhood has improved since the Middle Ages. For example, children were expected to contribute within the household or workplace resulting in them having the same role as adults. Furthermore, the law treated children no differently to adults e.g.
You’d be surprised how different it really was back in the early 1900s. Schools back in the 1900s had a much more difficult time than students today with all of the technological advances. In the early 1900s schools only had one teacher, a large room to teach in and every grade level to teach. School wasn’t really required back then, most attended but once a male was in about the sixth grade, he would drop out and help work with his father to support the family. They didn’t even know if school would still be around now; they thought that teaching would fail, all together giving up on education.
Because of the impact of the society and parents plus the evolution of new technologies, young people are less and less able to communicate face to face. Young people are losing the ability to socialize face to face because of parents and society. A few decades ago, parents and the society used to be more flexible about freedom. Nowadays, a lot of parents choose to “shortened the leash on their kids” by limiting their independence because they feel that it is the best way to protect their children from what is happening in the outside world such as child-abduction for example. Not only are parents stricter, but the actual society as well.
As adolescence was seen as a separate stage to adulthood, the latter half of the nineteenth century saw a move to accommodate young people, both legislatively and physically, separately from adults in ‘recognition that young people’s needs were of a different order from those of adults’ (Youth in Context, page 185). Early forms of residential care such as industrial schools which were established to care for ‘neglected’ children and reform schools for adolescents, who had committed offences, relied
Others argue that the west is imposing its idea of childhood on the third world. “Aries describes a medieval world in which, if children were not actually the equals of adults, they nevertheless mixed freely with adults in both work and leisure” this was identified by item A. Item A suggests that industrialisation brought major changes to the position of children. This was suggested by Aries who said that the elements of the modern notion of childhood gradually began to emerge from the 13th century onwards; schools was one of them previously adults attended as well became to specialise purely in the education of the young. This reflected the influence of the church, which increasing saw children as fragile “creatures of God” in need of discipline and protection from worldly evils.
Sociologists say that childhood socially constructed (which means that it is created and defined by society). They say that the position children have in society is not permanently fixed, it changes over time. This is obvious by looking at how childhood is seen in other cultures and the past. It is accepted in our society now that childhood should be a special time of life, children are seen as being different from adults so should be treated differently because they are physically and psychologically immature and are not able to be dependent. So they are seen to need a lengthy period of time where they are nurtured and socialised before they are seen as responsible adults in society.
It has also been suggested that children are biologically different to adults but the meaning of these biological differences are defined by society and at different times. Aries (1962) suggests the concept of childhood did not exist in Europe and children were seen as little adults as they dressed like adults and in many ways behaved like adults and childhood was discovered in the middle ages. Other ideas of childhood were highlighted with the introduction of formal education and the gradual withdrawal of children from the workplace. Although children are innocent and entitled to nurturing and protection in some cultures children
There are many sociological explanations for the changes in the status of childhood. One of the most known statuses of childhood is the ‘Western notion of childhood’ this is the idea that children in the western society are fundamentally different from adults and that there is still a need for constant protection and care from their parents and the government, as they are psychologically and physically immature. Childhood is seen to be a special time in a person’s life, in which they should cherish and enjoy, without being expected to undergo adult actions such as work, especially as children seemingly lack the important skills, knowledge, and basic experience that would be necessary to survive in the adult world. There is too much innocence and naiveté for them to be categorised as adults. It is believe that children need a long period of time of nurturing and socialisation before they are ready to enter the adult world, so they would need the appropriate amount of time to acquire knowledge and experience to enable the child to become an effective member of society.
Theories of Childhood ________________________________________ ________________________________________ Childhood is generally considered to be either a natural biological stage of development or a modern idea or invention. Theories of childhood are concerned with what a child is, the nature of childhood, the purpose or function of childhood, and how the notion of the child or childhood is used in society. The concept of childhood, like any invention, was forged from a potent relationship between ideas and technologies within a frame of social, political, and economic needs. Theories of childhood as a concept are often highly colored or emotive, that is to say, they deal with stark contrasts revealing the development over time of the psychological or emotional significance of childhood as viewed from the state of adulthood. Up until the 1990s, theories of childhood tended to be determined in a "top-down" approach which some have described as "imperialistic."