As previous research has found, the media ;TV, newspapers, social networks, radio; and social environment ; friends, family, school ; have a significant influence on children’s development according to Nicely, 2007; Hardin & Greer, 2009.
Picture the typical youth basketball sports game in Lebanon — a blur of motion and sound. Some parents are prowling the side-lines. Others are busy cheering positively or just chatting among themselves. These parents became field generals and forcing their children to shine. Today, over 35 million children ages 4 through 14 participate in some form of unorganized youth sports, where parents don’t really focus on their children’s performance and their love for basketball and help them try to develop their skills, and other parents are just busy caring about having their child, the number one athlete in school games or other organized youth sports. Which in fact made over 70% of kids drop out of these organized youth sports by age 13, missing opportunities for socialization, character development, exercise and fun according to the National Alliance for Youth Sports? Where the number one reason children drop out is pressure from adults. Kids need exercise, and the fun and values participation brings.
Television is an inescapable part of the modern world. We depend on TV for entertainment, news, education, culture, weather, and even sports. TV can help introduce youth to international basketball leagues and most specifically the Lebanese league that they might not otherwise see. However, youth are being deprived from watching professional basketball teams due to no TV coverage which is affecting the youth performance, their skills development, and giving youth an unclear image of their future.
Watching the basketball leagues can help in adding passion to the youth games, by getting to know some new moves and creating the image of role models in the player’s head. With the absence of this, it will create a major gap in the child’s performance. Imagine kids without realizing the presence of well-known athletes; the Lebanese professional basketball players Fadi Khatib from Champville SV, Wael Arakji and Amir Saoud who plays for sporting Al-Riyadi, and many others.
On the other hand, young children believe that television reflects the real world. At an early growth stage children develop ideas about the “gender-appropriateness of athletics” which influence their perceptions of and participation in athletic activities. Media borders can damage youths’ physical promises by discouraging them from participating in gender unsuitable sports according to Nicely 2007. Studies have found that young girls easily drop out of sports at a young age, due to the lack of role models. In conclusion, gender, social, ethnical and economic backgrounds have an impact on children’s interest and engagement in sports.
On the same hand youth athlete is an expression commonly used nowadays. We see this expression in newspapers and on television, but we actually do not value the power possessed by youths because we don’t give equal attention to young athletes as much to the professional league on TV or other social medias. However, these youngsters make contributions on the playing field, and more importantly, in the community.
They can be a key for being a good role model. Children look up to young athletes of the same age for inspiration because this would courage them more to participate in basketball organizations or other sports. Therefore, they’ll have a vital part in shaping the youth of the community.