The Disappearance of Childhood

The Disappearance of Childhood

4.1 7
by Neil Postman
     
 

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From the vogue for nubile models to the explosion in the juvenile crime rate, this modern classic of social history and media traces the precipitous decline of childhood in America today-and the corresponding threat to the notion of adulthood. Deftly marshaling a vast array of historical and demographic research, Neil Postman suggests that childhood is a relatively

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Overview

From the vogue for nubile models to the explosion in the juvenile crime rate, this modern classic of social history and media traces the precipitous decline of childhood in America today-and the corresponding threat to the notion of adulthood. Deftly marshaling a vast array of historical and demographic research, Neil Postman suggests that childhood is a relatively recent invention, which came into being as the new medium of print imposed divisions between children and adults. But now these divisions are eroding under the barrage of television, which turns the adult secrets of sex and violence into popular entertainment and pitches both news and advertising at the intellectual level of ten-year olds.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Postman persuasively mobilizes the insights of psychology, history, semantics, McLuhanology, and common sense on behalf of his astonishing and original thesis."
—Victor Navasky
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author of Technopoly examines the embattled nature of childhood in contemporary American culture. (Aug.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679751663
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1994
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
192
Product dimensions:
5.22(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.51(d)

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The Disappearance of Childhood 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
amyserafina More than 1 year ago
Title: The Disappearance of Childhood Author: Neil Postman Number of Pages: 177 This is definitely a book someone should read since it brings about a unique perspective, stating that the modern media is changing the process of growing up, thrusting children into an adult world earlier than previous generations. It is organized into two parts. Part 1 discusses where the idea of childhood came from and part 2 discusses why it is difficult to sustain. Postman claims that the idea of childhood began the same time as the invention of the printing press. After this invention adults could control how accessible information was to children. Schooling became necessary since children had to learn to read so that they could gain this information. A gap between adulthood and childhood was established because of the adult control of the information. Adults could provide information if they felt it was appropriate to do so. With the rise of electronic media and the move into the information age, adults have somewhat lost their control over their children's access to information. Thus the gap between adulthood and childhood is getting smaller. Many children are exposed to those 'adult' ideas sooner now because of their access to the information through sources such as today's television programs. He raises concern, but fails to provide any plausible solutions. However, this book is a great read, providing readers with something to think about. Postman is a very credible author, citing sources and direct references throughout the book while making insightful claims. He backs up his points with evidentiary support and traces the developments growing out of the information age with logical reasoning. For the most part the content of this book was able to capture my interest. Part 1: "The Invention of Childhood," was redundant at times, but effectively conveyed its points. However, Part 2; "The Disappearance of Childhood," was much more interesting, concise and relatable to modern times. This book is appropriate for adolescents and adults, as it may be hard for children to comprehend. Overall I liked this book as it was well written and thought provoking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Cool bean
ElizabethMH More than 1 year ago
?
Guest More than 1 year ago
Postman provides a brilliantly insightful and extended analysis of both the 15th-century rise, and the 20th-century loss, of childhood innocence. His thesis that childhood became extended by a decade (up to about age 17) as an unexpected result of Gutenberg's printing press is fascinating and compellingly argued, as are his further arguments that the concept of childhood innocence arose concomitantly with the arrival of widespread schooling for literacy, and that such innocence lasted until the 20th century, when television demolished the metaphorical wall guarding the magic garden of childhood innocence. Postman does more than explicate that loss--he mourns it, and hopes against all odds that somehow it can be restored.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are looking for a careful analysis of why our culture exibits much of the social and personal level quirks that it does, you could not start with a better book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
You can either love Postman or hate him. I feel that he has well thought out explainations for what is occuring with electronic media today. However I do not see this as a cause of complete change in children today. I don't believe that the influence child learn by is effected by the electronic media