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Focus: Children and pop culture

When reality television becomes the daily dose of entertainment for young and old people alike, boundaries of acceptable behaviour can often get pushed. Is it altering our perception of what appropriate and healthy conduct is? The first five readers who joined our online debate shared their views on the topic. If you would like to be part of a similar live debate, send us an email at

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11:04 Gulf News: Social misconduct has become acceptable if it makes you popular.

11:09 Apoorva Arya: Watching the different shows on television, these days, children have started misbehaving and throwing tantrums like the Honey Boo Boo Child! As a matter of fact many parents have started accepting this behaviour, because they feel it makes their child popular and these are just childish tantrums. But moving ahead, they inculcate within the behaviour of that person!

11:10 Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury: I agree. People think that certain things look ‘cool’, despite knowing that these things cannot be accepted in a society. People should understand the right things on their own and not always go by what they see in movies.

11:12 Fatima Suhail: These days, sadly enough, people can do just about anything to get famous even if involves social misconduct.

11:14 Sumanta Kumar Banerjee: This rationalisation has been used as an excuse for misconduct since the beginning of civilisation. It is based on the flawed assumption that an act becomes more acceptable if every body does it, as then it is implicitly alright for you to do it as well. Of course, people who use this reasoning don’t usually believe what they are doing is right. Often, they argue that they shouldn’t be singled out for condemnation if others aren’t.

11:14 Apoorva Arya: Being the ‘cool dude’ and popular among their peer group is what most children want these days, for which social misconduct seems a small price to pay. This is also why it has become acceptable!

11:17 Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury: Nowadays parents can’t always be with children. To kill time, they watch such programmes and gradually get addicted to it.

11:19 Fatima Suhail: Children are being encouraged to act in such a manner to get attention because these days, even parents prefer that their children stand out. Most parents see this kind of encouragement as a way to help boost their confidence.

11:19 Gulf News: Pop culture and social media have shifted the idea of what is acceptable behaviour in society.

11:20 Sumanta Kumar Banerjee

Yes it is and I guess it’s inevitable especially in a highly technological world. Look at the television programmes that focus almost completely on scandalous behaviour. These things are being held up, if not as a model, at least as something that is funny and entertaining. When you spend hours a week watching people do such things, it’s impossible not to let that influence our idea of what ‘normal’ is.

11:22 Saptarshi Roy Chowdhury: Popular culture looks very stylish and children tend to imitate their heroes even if the behaviour is not appropriate. Parents should play a vital role in preventing the growth of such attitudes in children. If parents inculcate a habit of reading books or making their child do something innovative from a very young age then the addiction towards pop culture among children can be reduced.

11:24. Madhu Madan: Traditional culture like Indian or Arabic culture is rich in decency, family values and respect for everyone in society. It can be an alternative to Pop Culture.

11:27 Fatima Suhail: People in the present times just accept everything and anything in the name of pop culture or entertainment. The unfortunate thing is that we have allowed the same culture to overtake our own traditions and family values. Children as well as parents are unable to identify and differentiate reel life from real life.

11:28 Gulf News: The focus in a child’s life has shifted from learning to projecting.

11:30 Madhu Madan: Yes , priorities have certainly changed. Today children want to stand out, if it is through wrong means . If you don’t know pop songs, you are considered outdated. So, children want to always be listen to these songs rather than invest in other skills or in academics.

11:31 Sumanta Kumar Banerjee: I guess it’s partly true. With today’s entertainment culture including such YouTube and reality television, there seems to be a misguided idea that anybody can be a star immediately. No longer is fame the result of talent. Entertainment is at risk of no longer being an art form with talented people who struggle for their craft. Now, it is about having your video go viral, or winning a contest through popular vote, or shocking a world audience with vulgar behaviour. The result has been a sea of star struck children that want to become famous, but don’t necessarily want to learn it or work for it.

11:42 Apoorva Arya: Awareness needs to be raised among children. Each one of us needs to change ourselves and needs to understand that pop culture is just a trend, but it’s not really as cool as it looks.

- Compiled by Huda Tabrez/Community Web Editor


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