Children studies in the field of psychology and the wider sociological perspective reveal many interesting themes of discussion about children. These studies and researches lead to further understanding of juvenile behavior and their portrayal in the society. Representations of norms, social values, political ideologies and images of the people are significant in shaping and re-shaping their statuses in the community. The play of images and representations of the different sectors in the society defines the ‘desired’ or probably the ‘accepted’ picture of the represented (Lacey 1998). In portraying the children, the role of the popular media and other social institutions like schools and welfare organizations is crucial in forming their identity and status in the society. Representations and images define and affect many aspects of children’s thinking and behavior.
In this paper, two contrasting images of a child (see Appendix) will be presented and analyzed in order to see the connection between the represented subject and the representation itself. The portrayed social values will be identified and analyzed in terms of its implied meaning in context. Studies and researches interpreting children’s attitudes and behavior will be explored to understand better children and their representative images in the society. Lastly, the implications of the analysis will be defined in relation to its impact upon practicing informal and community teaching.
The first picture (see Appendix) is an image of a child, more likely a male, having a cheerful casual smile. His hands are comfortably placed on his legs making a good sitting position pose. He wears nothing aside from his white underwear. The child looks clean and healthy. Like the first image, the second picture shows a young child wearing white underwear. However, in the second picture, the baby is portraying a different and contrasting image. In the picture, the child seems to be using drugs as he holds in his hand a syringe while pulling a string tied in his arm. Unlike the white studio background in the first picture, the second one portrays a corner of a dirty and somewhat abandoned place. Image Representation More often than not, images and other forms of representations are framed and molded according to what a person or certain community wanted to imply. Creating and posting images is not a neutral event and most likely, “images are created in order to communicate a message” (Lacey 1998, 5). In the first image, a ‘normal’ appearance and more socially ‘accepted’ picture of a child was portrayed while in the second one, the picture entailed a different and disturbing image. Analyzing the first picture, the characters of innocence, playfulness, naivete, and simplicity are implicitly shown. The innocent smile, the white clothing and background, and the simple pose somehow illustrate purity of the child’s thoughts and feelings. The first image is what people usually expect and want to see among children. It is showing a ‘standard’ image constructed by the society and media. In contrast to the first one, the second image portrays representation of drug addiction, abuse of freedom, unhealthy living and other implied negative values. The maker of the image could probably be depicting a picture showing futuristically the effect of dysfunctions in society if drugs and other related vices are not controlled. Also, the picture could simply be a diversion of a teasing imagination of the maker as he or she was thinking of a way on how to make fun with images of children. The image of the baby holding the drug paraphernalia could also be an exaggerated representation of the youth facing the risks of drug addiction in the society. Though the image shows a negative and ‘funny’ scenario, it entails a significant message about children in relation to the problem of drug