Wednesday, October 17, 2007
While surfing through channels during my fall break, I stumbled across a 20/20 episode entitled, "How Young is too Young?" Being that my group was dealing with the abuse of children's rights for our final paper, I decided to stay put on ABC and watch the rest of the episode. Amidst the segments on child prodigies and ever apparent child actors and actresses, there was a segment about a new documentary titled, "Raised in the Ring." Directed by Todd Kellstein, the documentary takes place in rural Thailand and focuses on two young girls, Nong Pet who is nine and Stam who is all of eight years of age. These two girls have taken up the sport of boxing and at such young ages have not only started an exhausting training program, but have also started fighting in real boxing matches. As many if not all of us know, boxing is known to cause serious injuries and can even result in brain damage. However, in places like Thailand where people are desperate for money, this new phenomenon has taken hold. Children as young as five years old are boxing and what can be even more astonishing is that their parents are not only allowing it, but encouraging it. Winning a boxing match can earn these young children hundreds of dollars which can then be used to greatly improve the family's financial needs situation. Although these children are no doubt doing a great service to their families by putting their heart and soul into winning these matches in order to win money, there is a point where one must ask the question, how young is too young? Not only do these children face an extreme risk of physical harm, there is also the mental stress of carrying such a big burden on such tiny shoulders. Here arises the question of whether someone should ban this sport because it is indeed a violation of children's rights? Or must we look at it as a voluntary action and an action that will help a family tremendously, therefore nothing should be done?