Childhood, X Factor obsession and the "moral abyss"

21 Nov

Girls’ School Association President Dr Helen Wright has warned of a “moral abyss” undermining childhood.

Recently, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph, more than 200 academics, teachers, authors and charity leaders, including Philip Parkin, Voice's General Secretary, raised their concerns that children's well-being and mental health were being undermined by the pressures of modern life.

The group urged the Government to address a culture of "too much, too soon" in Britain, with measures such as a ban on all forms of advertising aimed at the youngest children, the establishment of a play-based curriculum for infants and a public information campaign warning of the dangers of screen-based entertainment.

Dr Wright also criticised programmes like the X-Factor, where she said contestants were “encouraged to be at each other’s throats”:

“Qualities such as bullying and arrogance are glamorised and become synonyms for ambition and drive.

“Young people look up to these so-called stars, who have themselves been catapulted into a spotlight which can be far too much for them.”

A few weeks ago, Voice was approached by a journalist who wanted to know if the X Factor was setting a bad example to young people, making their behaviour worse and, consequently, making teachers’ work more difficult.

A spokesperson for Voice told them that:

"The media’s obsession with the programme is giving it a far greater significance in popular culture and people’s behaviour and conversations than it merits or actually has.

"It also gives the impression to the impressionable that fame and fortune are the answer to all life’s problems and can be achieved easily through appearing on television rather than through talent, study, application and hard work.

"The contestants’ alleged ‘bad behaviour’ doesn’t seem to appear in the programme, but is hyped up by the newspapers and other media, and much of it is rumour, gossip and speculation.

"All the media hype just serves to raise viewing figures.

"There are far more important issues in the world and many more stimulating, educational, inspirational or simply entertaining programmes on television than this rather tired and over-rated format.

"Perhaps the lesson young people should learn from it is one of the dangers of exploitation by the media and entertainment industries."

Perhaps the X should stand for 'No' or 'Wrong' Factor.

Do let us know your thoughts

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3 Responses to “Childhood, X Factor obsession and the "moral abyss"”

  1. Kirsti Paterson 22. Nov, 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    Yes, I think the influence which the media exerts from programmes like the XFactor and some of the advertising done on T.V. forgets the age & experience of the young viewers. Also the urge to have the latest model of electronic hand held equipment causes peer pressure and families going beyond their purchase level. If youngsters become acquainted with this lifestyle, what guidelines/criteria will they use in adult life?.

  2. Rosemary Stokes 30. Jan, 2012 at 9:25 am #

    School proms I've heard of parents forking out up to £400 for a dress (or tux), accessories, stretch limo hire and tickets, sometimes for pupils as young as year 9. How widespread is this? What are we teaching youngsters about 'must-have', 'the me society' and 'someone else will pay'? Of course they want to dress up and have an end of term bash, but if we're trying to teach entrepreneurial skills, what's wrong with a d-i-y- disco?

  3. Alice Mumby 27. Feb, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I absolutely agree that these programmes can have a negative impact on young people. I mentioned this briefly in my own blog post, but I am really pleased to see that this article recognises the negative impact these programmes can have.

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