Free Essay. Social Construction Theory and Its Analysis of Early Childhood

Published: 2023-04-09
Free Essay. Social Construction Theory and Its Analysis of Early Childhood
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  YouTube Child development Social psychology Social issue
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1810 words
16 min read

A social construct refers to an idea or principle that is a result of human thought. Society accepts this principle as accurate. The United Nations defines childhood as the period between birth and adulthood (Martorell, R., 1999, 288-292.). It holds that what is appropriate for an adult is not necessarily suitable for a child. Therefore, children exist under unique conditions within society. The social construction theory, therefore, holds that communities have different views of children. Some communities consider children innocent from birth; others consider them sinners from birth. In medieval Britain, children went to work; hence, society viewed them as adults from the age of seven (Cunningham, H., 2014). In contemporary society, Japanese children have the freedom to walk home from school at a younger generation in comparison to Western children. These are examples of gender constructs. The following paper, therefore, seeks to understand the social constructions of childhood, factors that affect youth, and how inequalities influence the perception of childhood in children.

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The paper will use a YouTube video from Save the Children channel and a YouTube video on the Pampers Asia channel. The Save the Children video was placed on the site on December 6, two thousand and sixteen. The video shows children in different states of distress and the role Save the Children plays in offering them a better future. The video aims to solicit for funds from viewers. The Pampers video seeks to sell a product. The target audience is new parents. It features an infant modeling the product, with a narrator giving the benefits of the product. The Pampers video was uploaded on September 24, two thousand and eighteen. These videos will create a contrast in the socialization and stages of childhood.

Social constructions from the videos

The videos highlight different perceptions of children. The following is a look at some of the creations that stand out. The Save the Children video portrays children as innocent without an understanding of right and wrong. Hence, representing them in situations of need. This innocence appeals to the empathy of the audience, therefore making them donate to the organization. The video portrays the rescue of children from human traffickers. Trafficking children sexualizes children and highlights the dark segments of society, in which their owners can sell off children for sexual gratification. Both videos commodity children by making them objects of entertainment. The child in the Pampers video makes money by appearing in the video. However, its parents will earn from the video rather than the child.

On the other hand, children who grow in poverty, mainly because of natural disasters have to raise income for the family. Charity advertising, as in the case of Save the Children, depicts children in their worst state. The film producers did not seek approval before filming.

Factors That Affect the Social Construction of Children


Globalization refers to the interaction and integration of individuals, countries, and industries from different countries due to international trade and the development of communication media (Kunczik, M., 2002 39-79). However, as societies interact, an effect on the perception of childhood takes place. In developing countries and rural areas of first-world countries, childhood is a period for children to learn their local dialects and offer labor to the family enterprise. Through these activities, children learn about their culture and develop a common way of working. However, the implementation of global standards is affecting this structure. Implementation of global agreements such as the United Nation's charter on children that advocates for all children to go to school. This agreement forces children to leave their family labor and take up education. This transition, however, places pressure on children as society expects them to contribute work as well as attend school. By attending school, child labor will diminish, and more children will seek alternative means of developing within society.

The Pampers video further highlights the effect of globalization. The video is on the Pampers Asia YouTube channel. This representation is an indication that the target audience is Asian parents. However, pampers is a western invention. The narration is in English. However, the producers wish to alter how Asian parents dress their children by offering a western option. The Save the Children video also has children in African, Asian, and Latin American countries wearing western clothes such as shirts and shorts. This mode of dressing is foreign in these states. For example, traditionally, African tribes made their clothes from animal hides.

Global crises affect children. Save the children video, contains images of children facing malnourishment from droughts, displacement due to conflict, and separation from loved ones due to trafficking. These events make children take up adult roles. During disputes, the proscription of children into the army without consideration of their maturity and ability to cope with the ravages of war is rampant.


Children do not play an active role in politics, even though all political decisions affect them(Pierson, P., 1993, 595-628). Save the Children video has images of children in conflict-prone areas such as Syria, world war two, and Somali. These children do not get to experience a similar childhood to children in peacetime. They have to take adult roles such as taking care of their families, joining the military. Conflict removes the innocence of life from them at an early stage. They experience loss and learn of political ideologies early.

The European refugee crisis, as shown in the video, was one of the most significant human movements since world war two. However, some European countries did not allow refugees into their borders (Luibheid, E., 2002). This denial denies children the fundamental human rights such as security, shelter, and food.

Across most jurisdictions, people vote after attaining eighteen years. At eighteen years, society perceives an individual as an adult. However, despite their immature status, children withstand the worst of conflicts and political decisions. Changes to the health system, education, and tax regimes affect children. For example, the United Nations has a children charter that defines a child and their rights (Lloyd, A., 2002.179-198). This charter has been signed and approved by a majority of the states.

Other bodies that advance the child's rights include the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization that encourages children to gain education and fund construction of schools and education systems globally. The International Labour Organisation advocates for the abolishment of child labor. The World Food Programme ensures that children have a regular balanced diet even in crime-prone areas. The World Health Organisation is at the forefront of combating diseases that lead to child mortality, such as malaria.


Culture refers to the fashion, language, music, food, and religious aspects of society. These features give members of a community identity influence on how they interact with the rest of the world. From a young age, culture affects the mental growth of children. For example, the introduction of music in the lives of children leads to better creative thinking. Cultures that value STEM subjects will introduce children to these subjects at a young age. Poor cultural dynamics make children aware of inequalities in society, such as classes and racism.

Children from a close-knit society that offers support networks either through religion or within the family have better emotional development in comparison to children that lack this support network. Some cultures allow members to be sensitive and open about their feelings. Therefore, children brought up in such a society are emotionally aware and are more willing to express their emotions.

Language affects how children perceive themselves and how they interact with society. European parents, when talking to their children, center discussions on qualities of the child, their wishes, and their needs. (Fuligni, A.J., 1998, 782).Asians and African parents, on the other hand, focus their conversations on the infant's relationships with society and how to interact with other members. These differences influence how children interact with society. For example, European children will describe themselves according to their features, such as the ability to draw and sing. African and Asian children describe themselves by the relationships they hold in society. European children give detailed accounts of their lives and emphasize their feelings and opinions. Asian children, on the other hand, expound on the interactions with other members.

Parenting styles also affect children. Children develop a speech that mimics their parents. European and American children are likely to hold conversations according to their preferences and independence with turn-taking during talks. Asian and African children, on the other hand, have passive discussions and rely on the person in authority to determine the direction of the conversation. Asian and African children are more likely to follow instructions of people older than they in comparison to European children are.

Historical context

Early childhood in the middle age was not as romantic as a modern-day childhood. Most children passed away at an early stage due to disease and accidents. Playtime was limited, and most of the time was spent on farms. The primary caregivers of children were mothers; however, weaning nurses took up jobs with well off families and in cases where mothers had passed away. Children in early childhood were immature and of no value to society due to their inability to complete tasks. There is a little depiction of children in art and literature developed in this period, further highlighting the low perception of childhood. During this period, the formulation of theories to explain children's actions and desires came about. One of the arguments states that children are born evil. This theory is prevalent among Christian and Judean religions. Therefore, children had to undergo baptism to cleanse them of sin. Childhood was also considered as Dionysian (Spariosu, M., 1989). This term was due to the perception that children are demanding. This theory is one of the reasons for the introduction of caning in schools.

Due to their age, children had part-time labor roles in the family. These would include taking care of siblings, feeding livestock, and cleaning utensils. Playtime relied on handmade toys.

Education was mostly through apprenticeship and word of mouth. Wealthy families could hire teachers for formal training. These lessons were by religious leaders and covered writing and reading skills.

At the beginning of the Elizabethan era in England, shifts in the perception of children emerged. Children were born innocent, and with a blank slate was one of the emerging theories. Therefore, it was the role of the adults to teach them and to maintain their innocence. Production of children's books increased during this era. The development of Puritanism led to the creation of children's rights, such as education and training. However, after their seventh birthday, children could take up employment roles in factories. Within the family, children took up several functions depending on the season and region. Their tasks would include fetching water, cleaning, and chasing birds from farms. These tasks were a source of income for the family. Jobs were also according to future parental roles.

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