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Author Topic: Children, what's right, what's wrong.  (Read 11512 times)
mlr52
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« Topic Start: January 07, 2011, 12:19:05 am »

I am taking a media class, one of the topics is about games and responsibilities. 

Some of my classmates are of the opinion that children know right from wrong without being taught. 

Some have expressed that the children know the difference between a game and real life.

Not being a parent, but having been a child, I believe they have to be taught, the difference. 

 

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« Reply #1: January 07, 2011, 12:56:27 am »

I am taking a media class, one of the topics is about games and responsibilities. 

Some of my classmates are of the opinion that children know right from wrong without being taught. 

Some have expressed that the children know the difference between a game and real life.

Not being a parent, but having been a child, I believe they have to be taught, the difference. 

I really don't think you can assume any inborn moral compass (because that implies parents wouldn't have to do any moral teaching). What age are we talking about, regarding distinguishing between play and reality?
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« Reply #2: January 07, 2011, 01:01:21 am »

I really don't think you can assume any inborn moral compass (because that implies parents wouldn't have to do any moral teaching). What age are we talking about, regarding distinguishing between play and reality?

Five and up.
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« Reply #3: January 07, 2011, 01:05:51 am »

Five and up.

I know nothing about child psychology and am not a parent, so I can't give you much insight...

But I remember as a kid (at least age eight, all the way up to now) that people gave me grief for reading so much fantasy (especially Harry Potter) because, somehow, I wasn't able to tell that what I was reading was fiction. (And it's a similar attitude I run into from outsiders judging various geek communities.) And I remember that attitude ticked me off, because I felt the implication was that I was stupid.
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« Reply #4: January 07, 2011, 01:13:41 am »


But I remember as a kid (at least age eight, all the way up to now) that people gave me grief for reading so much fantasy (especially Harry Potter) because, somehow, I wasn't able to tell that what I was reading was fiction. (And it's a similar attitude I run into from outsiders judging various geek communities.) And I remember that attitude ticked me off, because I felt the implication was that I was stupid.

Kids are not stupid.  They just do not have clear boundaries between games, and the common reality.  I was never one to run though a wall, but I know people (as kids) that though they could.  (TV put a lot of undoable ideas in your head).

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« Reply #5: January 07, 2011, 01:34:25 am »


Not being a parent, but having been a child, I believe they have to be taught, the difference. 
As someone who teaches and develops parenting programs, I can say that modeling is one of the strongest influences in shaping children into what they will become. They'll repeatedly fail to do what you tell them, but never fail to do what you show them. Also in terms of child development, until they reach their tweens (around age ten or so) children view morality as pretty black and white. If you ask them the old morality question about the man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family, you can pretty much draw an age line in the sand and see the younger end agreeing that it is wrong and the older children agreeing that it is ok. If you want to cite a source, you can refer to Family First, by Doctor Phil (while some may not exactly consider him as dependable, much of his work is cited from other more dependable sources.
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« Reply #6: January 07, 2011, 04:21:57 am »

As someone who teaches and develops parenting programs, I can say that modeling is one of the strongest influences in shaping children into what they will become. They'll repeatedly fail to do what you tell them, but never fail to do what you show them. Also in terms of child development, until they reach their tweens (around age ten or so) children view morality as pretty black and white. If you ask them the old morality question about the man stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving family, you can pretty much draw an age line in the sand and see the younger end agreeing that it is wrong and the older children agreeing that it is ok.

To add to this from my developmental psych background: kids pretty much start off figuring that what is moral is what doesn't get them into trouble. They stick to the rules their parents set for them, because if they don't they get disciplined. This then develops into "whatever rules society says are moral, because that's how you uphold your relationships", before you start moving to reasoning from basic principles of right and wrong etc. It's definitely a learned skill, not an ingrained one.

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« Reply #7: January 07, 2011, 07:03:27 am »

It's definitely a learned skill, not an ingrained one.

Random thought to throw out there, jumping off of your post more than really replying to it:  I wonder if at times it appears ingrained because kids will pick up bits of it that they haven't been told about explicitly.  A learned skill does not necessarily indicate formal instruction, correct?  A child might learn morality through observation and exploration rather than because someone has told them, "This is right, and this is wrong"; and, equally, might pick it up on their own even if someone fails to tell them.
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« Reply #8: January 07, 2011, 07:27:47 am »

Five and up.

At that age things need to be explained still.

My son LOOOOVES playing D&D online with me.  (geekling!)  And he knows there aren't any bugbears or hobgoblins in this world ... but I DID have to explain to him that the giant spiders in the game weren't anything like the spiders he sees in reality.  After all, he KNOWS spiders are real!

They can learn the difference, but I don't think the boundaries are clear at that age.  And right/wrong is DEFINITELY all about what he can do that will get him what he wants and avoid punishment!
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« Reply #9: January 07, 2011, 07:36:47 am »

Random thought to throw out there, jumping off of your post more than really replying to it:  I wonder if at times it appears ingrained because kids will pick up bits of it that they haven't been told about explicitly.  A learned skill does not necessarily indicate formal instruction, correct?  A child might learn morality through observation and exploration rather than because someone has told them, "This is right, and this is wrong"; and, equally, might pick it up on their own even if someone fails to tell them.

Your random thought does provide one reason why, some people believe children know, and do not need to be taught.  It fits in with what omoyemaya said

As someone who teaches and develops parenting programs, I can say that modeling is one of the strongest influences in shaping children into what they will become. They'll repeatedly fail to do what you tell them, but never fail to do what you show them.
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« Reply #10: January 07, 2011, 09:04:28 am »

If you want to cite a source, you can refer to Family First, by Doctor Phil (while some may not exactly consider him as dependable, much of his work is cited from other more dependable sources.

I would go beyond "not exactly dependable" and put him into the category of completely foolish. 
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« Reply #11: January 07, 2011, 09:41:48 am »

Random thought to throw out there, jumping off of your post more than really replying to it:  I wonder if at times it appears ingrained because kids will pick up bits of it that they haven't been told about explicitly.  A learned skill does not necessarily indicate formal instruction, correct?  A child might learn morality through observation and exploration rather than because someone has told them, "This is right, and this is wrong"; and, equally, might pick it up on their own even if someone fails to tell them.

Absolutely. A lot of what we learn is from what we see happening around us rather than what is told to us. And, as was mentioned before, that can be a lot more powerful than what we hear.

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« Reply #12: January 07, 2011, 12:43:42 pm »

I am taking a media class, one of the topics is about games and responsibilities. 

Some of my classmates are of the opinion that children know right from wrong without being taught. 


I'll go to the extreme.  Kids until they are taught otherwise are self serving opportunists who know no right or wrong outside of personal utility.  *Compassion* may develop *eventually* if they see it practiced (a form of teaching) but there is no inborn moral rule set that over rides want in a young child.

Even the sweetest kid will revert to "mine" style behavior in a situation where they feel it will be effective and tolerated.
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #13: January 07, 2011, 01:27:55 pm »

I know nothing about child psychology and am not a parent, so I can't give you much insight...

But I remember as a kid (at least age eight, all the way up to now) that people gave me grief for reading so much fantasy (especially Harry Potter) because, somehow, I wasn't able to tell that what I was reading was fiction. (And it's a similar attitude I run into from outsiders judging various geek communities.) And I remember that attitude ticked me off, because I felt the implication was that I was stupid.


I think perhaps the crossover of the media a kid experiences into a kids expressions in the reality they live in are more the challenge for the adults around them to deal with.  Especially when an adults world often consists of trying to get through the maze of to do's with as few distractions as possible.  The free associations of a kid who is mentally processing in the background and that have little or nothing to do with the adult in questions world can be something that you reflexively want to slow down or at least confine to a kids mental space because the real estate in the mind of an adult on the to do list is limited.

Probably harder to understand as well when some of the time the adult in question is available or attempts to be available for discussing the not possibles that lead to the what if and under what circumstances might it discussions that can come out of it.  One too many of these can leave you wanting to jump up and down and yell under no no no no circumstances.  Just toss the books.  I'm tired of these discussions!  Even fairly reality set material can lead to this though!

At that, I always have and always will be highly against games with graphic or violent content for kids under 14-16.  Until a kid is at an age where impulse control supports the knowing that something is right or wrong all the knowing doesn't always hold up under stress or excitement.  They "know" it's a video game/ movie/ book/etc. but the possibility for application has been opened up by knowing that the action depicted exists. 

Fantasy content I have no issue with, and oddly I encourage it in my daughter (as opposed to trying to keep some things to a minimum in my boys) - things like flying, changing into other things, or appearing and disappearing I have no worries about.  Probably the application though.  I've seen how little encouragement can lead to being mistaken for tolerance or acceptance of violent uses and how quickly something that seemed like a good idea at first can go south with my boys who are much more impulsive and express their ideas more physically.
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I'm gonna tell my son to join a circus so that death is cheap
And games are just another way of life
And I'm gonna tell my son to be a prophet of mistakes
Because for every truth there are half a million lies
And I'm gonna lock my son up in a tower
Till he learns to let his hair down far enough to climb outside.
-LIz Pahir
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« Reply #14: January 07, 2011, 01:32:14 pm »

At that age things need to be explained still.

My son LOOOOVES playing D&D online with me.  (geekling!)  And he knows there aren't any bugbears or hobgoblins in this world ... but I DID have to explain to him that the giant spiders in the game weren't anything like the spiders he sees in reality.  After all, he KNOWS spiders are real!

They can learn the difference, but I don't think the boundaries are clear at that age.  And right/wrong is DEFINITELY all about what he can do that will get him what he wants and avoid punishment!

Yes, it can be odd what children grasp and don't at various ages. I remember at about 6 or 7 clearly understanding that cartoons were drawn and therefore not real, and that films were acted in front of a camera, so the actors were playing a part, but didn't quite get the concept of special effects or how much could be achieved by acting. I thought that whatever was seen on film had to actually happen in order to be filmed. This led to some interesting beliefs regarding on screen deaths. For example, I clearly recall thinking that for westerns they simply auditioned huge groups of people who wanted to die and volunteered themselves to be shot on film!
Strange to think it implies that at 6 I had a better grasp of the concept of suicide than of films lol
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