THE DEATH OF CHILDHOOD: Restoring the Golden Age of Children

 

Childhood becomes the age of golden in human life. This phase is the starting point of their development and growth. The learning processes are in the highest intensity. Parents, family, peer group, school and society have the main role of that learning process. The supporting system such as media of learning, game and television are also giving its own roles in the childhood. Children are taught by their environment intentionally and unintentionally.

Comparing the past childhood and the nowadays childhood, we will find the significant differences among them. The past childhood means the childhood of the years before the second millennium. Some says that the childhood of children in 1900’s is the best childhood ever. In that time, children got their real sense of childhood. The rising of traditional game for children learning, the kids song, and the stuffs were booming. The children were really themselves. On the other hand, the nowadays childhood is the acceleration of age. Children are expected to do “more”. They act beyond their age. People assume that now is the death of childhood.

The big question is what makes them so distinguished. Considering the environment of child’s life, we may focus on media of learning which the main source of knowledge and experience. Public debates these issues typically overstate the negative and (less frequently) the positive influences of media in children lives (Buckingham: 2000). So, here the problems of the media development from past until now which brings so many changes.

Media as the aid for learning gives positive and also negative impact towards children. Actually, media is mainly about pleasure and play. It is the duty of parents, teachers and even government to make the media more meaningful for children. Rather than blaming the media as the destroyer of childhood, it is wise to say that media is potential to empower the children. It may true that media creates the “electronic generation” which is more apathy to their society and media leads the children imitate the things from it. Digital age shows the easiness of data accessing for everyone without any filter, included the children. So, what we have to do now is filtering and selecting which media is appropriate for children. We have to decide which media is accessible or not, so the children will get the real learning from media.

So, what do we do?

The movement of childhood restoration should be started as soon as possible. We not only talk about the short-term impact of media but also the long-term impact. Media such as television, internet, play station and the newest gadgets are giving huge influence toward children behavior. So, what we can do now is directing the children to behave what the way they are. As the parents or teacher, we should balance the using of those media with the needs of children. The collaboration between modern media and social-cultural content could be the best way. Take for an example, the Javanese traditional game. The game is the same as the other modern games with the content of knowledge of social-cultural of Javanese. In other words, while having pleasure with the game, the children will get new knowledge and meaningful experiences about society and culture.

Beyond this way, there are so many things that we can do the restore the childhood into the golden age. Children and childhood should get more attention because that will determine the next phase of their life. That is all about children future.

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