ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Family and Parenting»
  • Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice

Children at risk

Updated on June 19, 2012

Children at risk

The big twinkling eyes of a child are the most effective receptors in the world. A child’s mind is like a blank pen-drive. Whatever she/he sees, hears or feels, gets loaded into this pen-drive and is accessed when necessary. Parents across the world want their children to grow-up into fine individuals. Individuals, who are well-mannered, have a modern outlook to life, are bright, good citizens and more importantly are great human beings. For parents, a child with all the above great qualities is like a medal for their fantastic parenting skills. In short, every parent wants good content in the initially blank pen-drive. To ensure this, parents do a lot of things throughout their life. They follow different strategies. They have different reward and punishment mechanisms to differentiate the good from the bad. In spite of all of these there are so many ways that a virus can enter that pen-drive. That is, there are so many ways in spite of best efforts from the parents that a child in her/his formative years can learn what she/he is not supposed to learn. Gender stereotypes and racist stereotypes are among the top of the list in this category. This article deals with certain very subtle external stimuli from the environment which our children are bombarded with, day in and day out. How these stimuli may affect our children is something we don’t even realize in day to day affair.

Re-creation of the toilet sign at an amusement park.
Re-creation of the toilet sign at an amusement park.

Gender stereotypes in the loos

Sometime back, I went to an amusement park. A place often frequented by children. I was shocked when I saw the loo signs there. The men’s toilet had a picture of a boy, with a thought bubble saying “Football” and the ladies loo had a picture of a girl, with a thought bubble saying “Jewellery”. Such things might seem very innocuous to us. But, for a child this might be ‘one new thing I learnt today’. The extent to which this might damage a child cannot be imagined. A 5 year old girl might start believing that jewellery, shopping etc is what she is supposed to do. Sports and physical fitness is only for the boys. If I play a lot of sports people might call me a ‘tom boy’ and dislike me. For a 5 year old boy, this might be even more damaging. He might start believing that girls are weak, and not meant for sports. He might rudely shoo away a girl who might want to play with his group. This could be the start of chauvinism. Gender stereotypes are very common in toilet signs and there are a numerous examples that I can think of apart from the one that I have already mentioned. The macho male weightlifting vs. a bikini clad girl, X-box vs. cooking and so on.

Popular cartoon Doraemon
Popular cartoon Doraemon

Gender stereotypes in the cartoons

We all have grown up watching cartoons. Cartoons are something designed for children. Yet, to see some really shocking stereotypes in cartoons is disheartening. A month back I sat down to watch Doraemon with my 6 year old cousin. Doraemon is a Japanese cartoon, which has won many accolades for its informative and value oriented content. The episode I saw, was neither informative nor value oriented. Nobita, the main character in the cartoon gets superpowers from Doraemon, the cat. Nobita, who is actually a young boy, is excited about changing the face of the world and doing good deeds. He does that eventually alright, but, before doing all of that he tells his friend/girlfriend to cook something delicious as he would be very hungry after saving the world. This is ridiculous. Young boys and girls watch this cartoon and they are bombarded with such subtle gender stereotypes, which can be very damaging. Kids might start to believe that girls are meant to cook and take care of the house where as boys are meant for bigger things in life. Cartoons like power puff girls exist, but, they are very few in number.

Racist stereotypes in Hollywood movies

Hollywood blockbusters are a great piece of entertainment. We all love to watch it and we throng the theaters week after week to catch the latest flick. However, without us realizing, could it be that these movies are unwittingly planting the seeds of racism in our children. The examples to support this are many. Let me just take a very recent example from the blockbuster hit Madagascar 3. A bunch of American animals are brave and heroic, that is good. But, just like it happens in so many other movies, the Russian tiger was evil to start with, the French policewoman was nosy, the Indian skunk talked funny and so on. A repetition of the same concepts over and over can lead to racist views among children. The idea of this article is not to criticize anyone, but to send a message across to the parents that, such things are unavoidable and omnipresent. As parents, we need to sensitize our children to these issues.

Writers stereotype

Writer’s stereotype is very common and I have to admit that even I at times have to fight it. It basically means that unknowingly writers refer to certain stereotypical macho things as ‘he’ and certain stereotypical girly things as ‘she’. A conscious effort to fight it is required to send healthy neutral signals across to kids who read it. Having said that, I would like to reiterate that, the purpose of this article was to let parents know that such external stimulus from the environment is unavoidable, and our children may be at a risk of such things. At our end, it is our responsibility to sensitize our children to such issues.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • p10kabhijita profile image
      Author

      Abhijit Aswath 5 years ago from India

      Absolutely :) power of media is immense. Great power corrupts greatly. The situation is definitely not alarming but a little care can avoid the risk. Thanks for voting up teaches12345 :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      You have brought out some very important issues in raising children in today's world of media. I agree that we must educate our children on what is proper and acceptable in viewing and applying to real life. Voted up!

    • p10kabhijita profile image
      Author

      Abhijit Aswath 5 years ago from India

      Thanks Shubhangi.. these are little things which are very easily ignored. I thought I should bring it up here.

    • profile image

      Shubhangi Joshi 5 years ago

      I cannot thank you enough for writing this amazing hub. I agree completely with your views on this issue. You have captured a very powerful message very crisply and succinctly. Voted up, awesome, and shared!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)