The Two Faces of Innocence

Gary Cross

in The Cute and the Cool

Published in print May 2004 | ISBN: 9780195156669
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199868254 | DOI:
 						The Two Faces of Innocence

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Today's newspapers and magazines regularly feature stories about schools — reports on test scores, changes in the curriculum, proposed laws to raise academic performance — and the latest findings on child rearing, such as the impact of reading stories or playing classical music upon the later success of toddlers. At the same time, children's TV, beyond the toddler years, has been largely shorn of “educational” content and has little to do with growing up to success. These battles between consumerism and education have been with us for generations. Parents are frequently confused about how to balance serious effort with fun in their children's lives, especially when the ubiquitous commercial culture is so successful at the serious business of promoting fun. As a result, the very meaning of innocence has changed: the idea of sheltered innocence, with its insistence on effort, reason, and work, has ceded much influence to wondrous innocence, with its appeal to desire, imagination, and gratification.

Keywords: children; parents; sheltered innocence; wondrous innocence; fun; consumerism; education; child rearing; media

Chapter.  9833 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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