Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Raised in the Ring"

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?



4 comments:

aditi said...

Boxing for money can be compared to a job. Just as child labor is not allowed, boxing should be viewed in the same light. Children under the age of 16 should not be allowed to box as at the young ages of 8 and 9 they are not old enough to know the consequences of their actions (in this case the physical harm of boxing). Though the money earned helps the family financially, it is not the job of the child to be the bread winner. Families are obligated to protect their children and if they are not obligated by the law they should be.

Nikki M said...

I am also not in favor of child boxing and think the practice should be stopped. HOWEVER, this seems to be an economic necessity for families. While it should not be the job of children to earn money for their families, that is the reality in this part of rural Thailand. Banning child boxing won't be enough. If we want to see this practice abandoned then something will have to be done to improve the economic situation of rural families.

Ryan said...

Yes, boxing can be extremely dangerous. But I would not go as far as to say that this is a violation of human rights, mainly because this appears to be voluntary. If the family forces the child into the ring, then it would be a different story. Martial Arts, which are dangerous, as we all know, have been practiced for centuries. Also, I do not that there is anything wrong with the pressure that is placed on a young child. This can serve the child well later on in life and teach important lessons.

Anonymous said...

boxing is very dangerous and especially when you are @ such a young age. I'm not really a fan of the idea but it seems to be a very successful way to get families out of poverty, therefore instead of banning it i reckon there just should be an age limit law