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Today, the evolution of technology has caused the use of visual entertainment in the form of television to increase. The programs that are often aired have a distinct inclination towards a negative or biased view of gender, culture or ethnicity. Adults may consider this a normal situation. However, to little children this represents a true situation in their society, and they tend to get modeled to develop attributes emulating what is said or done in these programs. The stereotypic representation in television programs and movies should be curbed in order to rescue the young generation of today, which appears to be already stereotypic. This paper will, therefore, focus on presenting an argument that the choice of television series or movies has successively tainted children’s understanding of gender, race, culture and the overall message relayed in them.
In the past few decades, racism and ethnicity was based on uplifting of the whites as compared to blacks. Today, these stereotypes of white supremacy and blacks’ hooliganism have been propagated in the media. The movies produced tend to portray the prison hard cores as blacks and the successful people as Asian-Americans, Britons or whites in general. These prevalent stereotypes about African-Americans can have quite negative effect on the minds of children, thus, they will grow up with what they see in movies preserved in their minds. In most cases, the movies are based on some historical reflection of how things were before, or on fiction. This is the main message and adults would understand the themes, but children will not understand (Levine & Munsch, 2011). In the comedy “God must be crazy”, for example, a bush man who walks around the plains of Kalahari Desert naked, views the white people walking there as tourists to be Gods who do not care. He even follows them carrying a bottle of beer they had left, thinking it is a Godly instrument that had been forgotten. For adults, it can be amusing and fascinating to watch, but to kids, this representation of the black man will stick on their minds. These stereotypic movies will mould their behavior and social interactions. Consequently, children’s beliefs and thoughts regarding ethnic minorities, gender bias and racism are influenced by the images and messages seen on television.
According to Smith (2011), there are many cases that children watch women mistreated in the movies and this aggressiveness of men inplants in their minds. The soap operas of today portray women as delicate beings that need to be handled with a lot of care, to the extent of relaxing at home and being given everything. This may cause the female children to lose morale of working hard in life, expecting everything to be provided for them. This will have a definite, negative impact on the minds of the children and they will grow up having a biased view of the society.
Regarding racial bias, many current films, including Disney Productions, have been seen to contain many racist annotations. Additionally, they have a distorted portrayal of cultures. This stereotypic presentation of characters ends up in creation of images in children’s minds, which will make them grow up believing the same (Benshoff & Griffin, 2009).
The film industry needs to change for better. The movie industry ought to scrap out stereotypic movies, or parents should be more cautious of what their children watch outside the classrooms. With the advent of the internet, there has appeared an increased ease of access to internet programs that children can watch. Proactive upbringing of children is highly recommended.
In conclusion, children activities outside the classroom need to be monitored closely by their parents. There is a need to control the amount of stereotypic content that children are exposed to, unless the world is ready to harbor biased individuals.