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The End of Childhood

  • Childhood was an invention of the Victorian Age that spread to the rest of the Western world: the idea that children are entitled to play and have fun for several years.
  • In most of the world children continued to be used as a labor force, most often in family-run businesses and shops and sometimes even in factories.
  • The problem with this lengthy childhood is that children become a problem. Therefore the West introduced all sorts of organized behavior for children, from increasingly longer school hours to summer camps. Basically, the West began to discipline childhood.
  • De facto, childhood has been revoked and replaced with forced education and forced education and entertainment.
  • The idea that sending children to school and to the gym and to play some sport and to summer camps etc etc is more natural than sending them to work in the streets or in the fields is just that: a convenient idea.
  • In fact, both are ways to monetize childhood: parents of affluent countries send children to school mainly to provide them with a better job later in life.

Further reading:

Jay Griffiths: "A Country Called Childhood" (2014)