Feral Children

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Recently watched a very intriguing docuementary on Discovery Channel. which described the behaviour of children who had been abandoned by their parents and/or raised by domestic or wild animals. What I found especially intriguing was the imprinting, which is the very impressionable period in child development. Our youth tend to learn much more during this period. The feral children were typically discovered well after this very vulnerable stage. Thus, any attributes of the animal (ie wolf, dog,etc.) had been transferred to the human child. Quite surreal indeed.

While I do not profess to know anything about child psychology, I do believe that people are often a product of their environment. So if one is exposed to animal-like behavior for an indefinite amount of time, it is very likely to have damaging consequences.

What is unclear, is what should become of such children. Are they still to be considered human or otherwise? The documentary discussed this argument in great detail. Some scientist suggest that these children offer a unique opportunity to study the effects of abandonment. Moreover, feral children are rare, and often hidden in relative obscurity, so there would be no opportunity to learn about the changes in behavior pattern. Could any of the damage be reversed? What about the rights of these children? Do they deserve to be poked and prodded in the name of science? What role should the government play in the rehabilation process?

I was fascinated by the accounts described in the documentary, most of the cases seemed to have occured in Europe, but there have also been isolated cases in America.

Definitely worth a peek.

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    This page contains a single entry by AG published on December 23, 2005 1:24 PM.

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