Current Events III.

Children’s Anxiety disorders.

The brutal truth about the dangerous effects of media on children is that children are not only affected by large corporation advertisements or TV programmes and movies, but they are also in potential threat due to the private action which is taken by adults surrounding them on various social networks. The number of people currently posting pictures of their children or children they come in contact with or writing various articles and blog posts about them is countless.

Last month, there has been a reported case, in New Zealand, of pictures of children having been stolen from a social media account by a woman calling herself to be the children’s mother. But thousands of cases like this one are reported monthly in other countries too, and many parents don’t realize the danger they are putting their children in.

Parents use various social media to “shame” or “make fun of” their children, without their responsible consent. When they grow up, children who get recognized from such photos or videos could have a hard time detaching themselves from their past mistakes and could suffer from social anxiety disorders. This month, a shocking video was uploaded by a father of his child and his primary school friends “twerking” and sexually touching themselves. The father who uploaded the footage on the internet captioned the video as the children “showing off [their] moves”. Not only can these videos and similar pictures damage children’s profiles, it can also make them a target for ever present sexual predators. According to the research done by the American Psychological Association, such sexualisation of young children can further result in them having depression or other emotional consequences or could suffer from eating disorders and commit self-harm as the grow older.

Related Reading:

American Psychological Association. (2016). Sexualization of GirlsApa.org. Retrieved 28 April 2016, from http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/girls/

Biddle, D. (2016). Kids’ pictures an online dangerStuff. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/social-networking/77972895/Stolen-Facebook-pictures-of-children-paraded-on-social-media-account

Ingram, L. (2016). Parents shame their kids with hilarious fail photosMail Online. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3535052/Parents-shame-kids-hilarious-fail-photos.html

Marshall, P. (2016). Is tackling sexual exploitation of children ‘everyone’s responsibility’?ITV News. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.itv.com/news/2016-04-19/tackling-sexual-exploitation-of-children-is-everyones-responsibility/

Tufft, B. (2016). Outrage over shocking video showing young Cuban children twerkingMail Online. Retrieved 24 April 2016, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3538088/Outrage-shocking-video-showing-young-Cuban-children-twerking-dancing-provocatively-school-uniforms-parents-proud-display.html

Current Events II.

An important issue regarding the negative effects of media on children, which is currently being discussed, is the rising number of children suffering obesity. Several studies including a study from the University of Liverpool, Yale University, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and other recent studies suggest that junk food advertising has helped to increase children craving such foods.

The study from the University of Liverpool has concluded that although there isn’t a correlation between junk food advertisements and adult junk food consumption, there is a strong one between such ads and children.  The author of the research Dr. Emma Boyland further states that “Small, but cumulative increases in energy intake have resulted in the current global childhood obesity epidemic and food marketing plays a critical role in this. We have also shown that the effects are not confined to TV advertising; online marketing by food and beverage brands is now well established and has a similar impact.”

Very little has been done to reduce the amount of junk food commercials, however, there has been some incentive. In America, some candy companies have agreed to not advertise their products to an audience under the age of 12. Last year, major children’s channel Disney has banned all junk food commercials in their programme in the US, bringing hope for a brighter future in raising up our new generation of children.  Disney, however, is yet to extend this ban to other countries where it airs. The government in the UK announced in February to take incentives to ban junk food advertisements during peak times, this could be, however, very costly and approval of such restriction can still take a long time.

Biggest fast food chains McDonald’s and Burger King both have taken a pledge in the US already in 2006, due to the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, to promote only healthy foods in their advertisements. However, studies conducted in 2013 again by Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth show that both companies failed to do so. Children are not less attracted to come to their restaurants due to the restaurants advertising toy rewards which go along with their unhealthy and low-nutritious meals. The Journal of Pediatrics has informed in 2016 about the dangers of toy selection available in junk food restaurants, which cheats children to eating in such restaurant only for a bonus they get to take home.

 

Related Reading:

Current Events I.

One of the current major issues surrounding media influence on children is the amount of sexual content which they are exposed to daily.

This month, terrifying news has flooded in from Australia, where children, already at the age of five, were recommended to attend therapy for sexual misbehaviour at school. The Weekend Australian has last Thursday published a story about kindergarten children, who not only tried to sexually arouse their peers, but also acted out various sexual scenes using toys available to them. Records show that not only the number of sexual incidents involving young children increases every year, the number of children marked involved with inappropriate sexual behaviour further increases as they proceed into their teenage years. Chris Gordon, an expert in the field of therapy for family problems, stated that “Easy access to sexual images on the internet and mobile phones is frequently recognised as a crucial factor” when children are seen to be behaving age-inappropriately.

Nowadays, children do not have to access pornography websites to be exposed to sexual content as the majority of TV series, commercials and other advertisements shown in the prime time display some kind of sexual setting. According to Victor Strasburger, a Professor of Paediatrics, Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Chief of the Division of Adolescent Medicine at the University Of New Mexico School Of Medicine, astonishing 14000 sexual references are made on TVs per year alone.

It is important to pay attention when children manage to generate various sexual innuendos, as although it could suggest only child’s curiosity and simple growing up, it could also be a sign of trauma, anxiety or exposure to inappropriate media or even poor parenting.

A severe case of serious sexual harassment coming from young children has already been reported in Australia earlier this year when a four-year-old was provoking his classmates to engage in sexual-themed games during playtime. Australia is, however, not the only country which deals with such incidents. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in the UK has recently called for help in order to tackle problems regarding the growing number of children showing detrimental sexual behaviour in the country.

Related Readings:

Importance of the Issue

Many people are now aware of the adverse effects of the media when it portrays the unrealistic “perfect body image”. Thousands of women each year are reported to suffer from as severe problems as anorexia, mental illnesses or self-harm because of it.  People, however, don’t realize that people are affected by media already from childhood. Not only adult advertisements but even cartoons on channels such as Disney, their movies and other children’s commercials and movies have a negative influence on the way children behave and look. Every year more and more children are reported to have depression or are fighting other severe mental illnesses. Daily, people, come across children wearing age inappropriate clothes or children who are involved in other adult-like activities. Children, already from such early age as 2, try to adapt or mimic what they see on TVs or anywhere else online or offline. It is a serious issue which shouldn’t be ignored by parents or guardians and any other people who come in contact with children.