"Childhood Is In Crisis"!
Ridiculous "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"-style piece in The New York Times, with lots of huffing and puffing by Joel Bakan, author of "Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children."
Bakan writes of how a "child saving" movement emerged in the 19th century, combating "widespread child abuse" in mines, mills and factories. (I'm guessing he means "combating child labor.") But now -- gasp! -- we are failing to protect children from TV and video games and other horrible corporate-caused ills:
A clash between these two newly created legal entities -- children and corporations -- was, perhaps, inevitable. Century-of-the-child reformers sought to resolve conflicts in favor of children. But over the last 30 years there has been a dramatic reversal: corporate interests now prevail. Deregulation, privatization, weak enforcement of existing regulations and legal and political resistance to new regulations have eroded our ability, as a society, to protect children.
Childhood obesity mounts as junk food purveyors bombard children with advertising, even at school. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation study reports that children spend more hours engaging with various electronic media -- TV, games, videos and other online entertainments -- than they spend in school. Much of what children watch involves violent, sexual imagery, and yet children's media remain largely unregulated. Attempts to curb excesses -- like California's ban on the sale or rental of violent video games to minors -- have been struck down by courts as free speech violations.
So, a peek at an ad for Fruit Loops we now equate with child labor? We're going to equate keeping children out of mines with not letting them play video games?
Sure, there's regulation needed -- of the parental kind. And I don't mean the in loco parentis kind, by government, but actual controlling of children with a stern look or stern words from Mommy, Daddy, and maybe Grandma and Grandpa.
By the way, big corporations "targeted" children when I was a kid, too. Unfortunately, I found it rather hard to see all the commercials for these cereals and things because I was not allowed to watch TV.
And unfortunately, as much as I would have liked to have Fruit Loops and Count Chocula cereal instead of that boring and tasteless rice puff stuff my mother bought, I was six and did not have a checking account and I couldn't make it to the grocery store on my tricycle.