Volume 38 No. 4
The thematic focus in this issue includes: Perceptions, childhood, Jamaica, deliberate self-harm, adolescents, Caribbean, self-esteem, depression, suicide, media content, parental mediation, media literacy, unmet educational needs, children and youth, detention, missing girls’, phenomenon, Trinidad and Tobago.
In this issue
Perceptions of Childhood among High School Students in Jamaica
Pages: 5-24Author(s): Aldrie Henry-Lee
This paper examines the perceptions of childhood among students in an urban high school in Jamaica. The research forms part of a larger study of perceptions of childhood but only the findings from one school are discussed here. The students answered questions about the quality of life in Jamaica, the treatment of parents, teachers and community members, what makes children happy or sad and the levels of violence directed at them in the home and in the wider society. One of the important findings is that children felt especially susceptible to violence with 78.5 per cent of them stating that direct violence against children in Jamaica is high or very high. However, when asked about the quality of life in Jamaica, a total of 72.9 per cent described the quality of life in Jamaica as fair to excellent. Furthermore, 56 per cent of them claimed that children in Jamaica were happy or very happy. It would appear that although they were aware of the high levels of violence that surround them, they were able to ‘detach’ themselves from the harsh reality. They were able to ‘construct’ a reality that helped them to cope. When the analysis of the larger data set is completed, gender and residential differentials will be explored. The examination of the findings from this school, however, reveals that adherence too many of the rights stated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child is unsatisfactory. Policy recommendations are proposed to increase adherence to these rights in the best interest of the child.
Keywords: Perceptions, childhood, Jamaica
Deliberate Self-harm in the Caribbean
Pages: 25-50Author(s): Zahra Jacobs
Addressing deliberate self-harm (DSH) in the Caribbean this paper seeks to firstly, establish its prevalence; secondly, determine its relationship to depression and self-esteem; thirdly, explore help-seeking preferences. Three hundred and eighty-three (383) students completed the Deliberate Self-harm Inventory, Kutchner Adolescent Depression Scale and Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Forty per cent (40%) of students had engaged in at least one form of DSH. DSH was related to higher numbers of depressive symptoms. No associations between DSH and self-esteem were found. Two-fifths of students indicated that they would not talk to anyone if they were experiencing distress. The implications of these findings for schools, public health initiatives and future research are discussed.
Keywords: deliberate self-harm, adolescents, Caribbean, self-esteem, depression, suicide
‘Mature Audiences’ – Content, Child Rights and Mediation
Pages: 51-77Author(s): Anthea Edalere-Henderson
Jamaica’s media landscape has been transformed radically in the past three decades. This exploratory study uses qualitative data from focus group interviews conducted amongst parents and guardians in Kingston and St Andrew, Jamaica in November 2012, to unearth data on their media literacies and mediation strategies in a liberalised, converged media environment. The paper will show that while Jamaican parents are demonstrating an increasingly informed approach towards mediation of their children’s exposure and use of media technologies, their perceptions of their own literacies are marked by a measure of ambivalence, as well as a distinct reminiscence for a past era. It is theorised that many mature Jamaicans identify with a ritual model of media rather than a publicity model, which is harder to maintain in a liberalised media environment, and even harder to share with their children. It is recommended that ‘well-being’ goals embodied in the provisions of the UN CRC be defined as necessarily incorporating the development of robust media literacies, and that parents become equipped to mediate competently in the contemporary media environment.
Keywords: media content, parental mediation, media literacy
Addressing Unmet Educational Needs of Children and Youth in Detention in Trinidad and Tobago
Pages: 78-105Author(s): Wendell C. Wallace
Children and youth who come into contact with the Criminal Justice system in Trinidad and Tobago and who are subsequently institutionalised at Industrial Homes and youth detention facilities are in need of high quality education, similar to that of other children. This is a requirement if they are to develop the core competencies and skills necessary for them to become positive contributing members of society. Sadly, this is an infrequent occurrence as many of these children and youth who are in the State’s care often demit the institutions without any academic skills or socio-emotional competencies to facilitate their survival in the twenty-first century. This paper pays attention to the unmet educational needs of children and youth in detention in Trinidad and Tobago and makes suggestions on how to address these deficiencies. A new direction for public policy and planning regarding the unmet educational needs of children and youth in detention in Trinidad and Tobago is recommended from an ethical/theoretical standpoint as informed by global best practices and comparative international findings.
Keywords: unmet educational needs, children and youth, detention
Improving Life Chances of an ‘At Risk’ Group in Trinidad and Tobago: An Exploratory Analysis of Missing Girls’ Data
Pages: 106-138Author(s): Melissa Berkley and Godfrey St. Bernard
In Trinidad and Tobago, the phenomenon of ‘missing girls’ is a misnomer given its representation in police record-keeping. Though not applicable to all cases of ‘missing girls’, it may rather be indicative of a pattern of delinquency characterising a specific group of females under 18 years. Considering child rights that are geared towards protecting those with the greatest predisposition to all forms of violence, public health risks and deprivation, all of which limit their life chances, females under 18 years constitute a critical sub-population
Bearing in mind similarities and differences in the distribution of missing teenage girls in Trinidad and Tobago during a four-year period between 2008 and 2011, the paper constitutes an exploratory study that provides clues for further research and policy prescription. This study seeks to examine critical attributes such as age, ethnicity and episode characteristics across time and space to discern profiles of ‘missing girls’ in Trinidad and Tobago.
Micro-level data are drawn from police-records for the period January 2008 to December 2011. Descriptive statistics examining patterns of variation and association are analysed to discern similarities, differences and inequities. Available data indicate increases in the frequency of missing girls’ reports during the period, an urban bias with respect to such reports despite their increasingly ubiquitous character with the passage of time, Though the whereabouts of the vast majority of girls were known, there is evidence of some measure of criminal activity with girls being offenders and victims. The majority of the reported cases occurred on the weekend and irrespective of temporal or spatial domain, the median age of missing girls is 15 years.
Keywords: missing girls’, phenomenon, Trinidad and Tobago