Kay Hymowitz uses the text on Tweens: Ten Going on Sixteen to suggests that children these days are growing up fast. The marketers are calling them “tweens” because they are children between the ages of 8 and 12, which is a midway stage between childhood and adolescents. However, the tweens are turning out to be more like teens regarding teen behavior, teen attitudes, and styles, and it is troubling. There is a growing concern regarding the exposure the children are getting on sexual content through electronic media and television. Kay Hymowitz claims that several trenchant observations on childhood are portrayed by the contemporary media programming as well as advertising. She stresses that the combined efforts of advertisers and media have yielded to myriad images showing children, who are independent consumers, they also portray the right look, stereotyping the appearance and behavior of the children. I agree that socialized media and especially music, is affecting pre-teens behaviors, attitudes and style. Therefore, sexualized media is negatively affecting pre-teens. Modern-day preteens are becoming teenagers as early as eight years old.
The article “Tweens: Ten Going on Sixteen” explains how children between age 8 and 12 are also considered as tweens. Mainly, this is because they consider themselves as more mature than their ages. Children these days are doing away with their childish belongings and possessions and taking on more mature behaviors (Hymowitz, 2008). The author Hymowitz explains the issue using her ten-year-old daughter and the manner she changes from a child to a teenager. The article shows how children want to grow up, mostly girls. Small girls are wearing makeup, doing older-things, such as going on dates and even getting pregnant. Nickelodeon appears to attract many children. Nickelodeon is a cable television network for children. It offers programs that would cultivate the tween’s self-image. The youth monitor of nickelodeon indicates that many children by the age of 12 described themselves as flirtatious, trendy, sexy and cool. On the other hand, toy companies are selling to the children, who are under ten years.
Music influences people of all ages at all times. Music has a powerful effect on teenagers as it changes their emotions, the manner they perceive the world, peers and themselves. Questionable and explicit lyrics alongside with graphics that contain destructive themes are alarming. Destructive ideas through music glamorize alcohol and drug abuse, violence, suicide and inappropriate sexual messages (Strasburger, Wilson & Jordan, 2013). Many tweens and teens try to emulate the style of their favorite music artist. They start to put on clothes similar to those of celebrities (Hymowitz, 1998). It shows how celebrities affect fashion. For example, Madonna influenced the skimpy clothing in the 90’s. In the article, a second-grade teacher is seen complaining that her seven-year-olds were not appreciating the traditional stuff for the dance festival. She wanted the children to wear Mexican hats, but the children wanted to dress up as the Spice Girls (Hymowitz, 2008).
Teens choose to listen to music that reflects the current state of being and mood. Most of them carry the emotions through the lyrics and singing. Teen girls have always influenced the music business, according to Danny Goldberg. Today, the teenage years are starting at an early age changing the entertainment tastes. The children’s emotions are starting early, resulting in a large audience for the music. Notably, even the Girls Scouts of America had to change their image using the MTV-style ad. They used rap music and had the appearance of Johnny Depp. Many people believe that girls should get out of their goody-goody image and show the world that Girl Scouts are mature, fun and most of all a cool place to be.
There is an increase in explicitness and Sexualization in music, visually and lyrically. Sexual content continues to present in popular music and is responsible for the cultural shift towards a more sexualized global society. MTV has completely changed the presentation of music. The dance performances and music videos often follow sexualized choreographed routines (Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2010). There are clear sexual moves in the routines that may arouse tweens and teens. Notably, the high proportion of lyrical content on popular music has the emotional dimension of sexual experience. In essence, sex is in most musical content.
In conclusion, Hymowitz presents an argument that children are wearing different clothes presently than what the children did ten years ago. The article shows how tweens are growing too fast due to movies, TV programs, and music. Hymowitz suggests that policymakers and parents should advocate for programming that supports positive development outcomes for children. The programming must meet the cognitive and social terms of children and also reflect reasonable goals for their development. The society must care about the well-being of children, culture and children’s development.
- Hymowitz, K. S. (1998). Kids today are growing up way too fast. The Wall Street Journal, A22.
- Hymowitz, K. S. (2008). Tweens: Ten Going on Sixteen. In J. Nadell, J. Langan, & E. A. Comodromos, The Longman Writer: Rhetoric, Reader, Research Guide, and Handbook (7th ed., pp. 245-249). New York: Pearson Education.
- Marshall Cavendish Corporation. (2010). Sex and society. New York: Marshall Cavendish
- Strasburger, V. C., Wilson, B. J., & Jordan, A. B. (2013). Children, adolescents, and the media. Thousand Oaks : SAGE Publications, Inc.