Never believe everything you read. A textbook in India for 11-year-old students claims that meat causes people to commit all kinds of crimes including aggressive and sexual acts.
While most experts would include meat as part of a healthy diet plan, an Indian textbook has stunned the world and raised a few eyebrows when it attributed all kinds of crimes as a result of consuming meat. According to NDTV, the textbook is produced by a printing firm called S Chand. In India, there are no strict guidelines regarding the material published in textbooks and schools are given the liberty of selecting which textbooks they may want to use for their students’ education.
According to the authors of the textbook published to educate 11-year olds, consumption of meat ‘will make you lie, steal and commit sex crimes.’ The authors advocate that meat eaters often con and deceive others and perpetuate all kinds of heinous offences ranging from sexual offences to aggressive acts. The schoolbook even attributes the taste of meat to excretory products.
While abstaining from meat is common among Indians, the amount of meat devoured in India is rapidly rising as a result of the booming Indian economy and the forces of globalisation. Even beef, which is usually forbidden in India due to religious reasons is becoming increasingly consumed. Thus if this textbook holds any truth in its content, India should be very worried that their crime rates will probably increase due to the rise in the consumption of meat.
This case highlights a fundamental problem which is the fact that not everything you read can be taken seriously, even if it comes from a source usually perceived as credible. Children are particularly vulnerable to this problem as they haven’t developed the skills necessary to discern whether a source is credible or not. Furthermore thanks to the internet, children nowadays have access to all kinds of content on online platforms. The lack of regulation over what gets published online means that often, children are exposed to articles that not only are false, but disturbing as well.
3 simple solutions
But before parents start panicking over their what their children are reading, here are three simple tips which should prevent this problem.
1. Pay attention to what your children are reading
Parents should monitor what their children are reading so as to ensure that they do not read disturbing articles. Parents should ensure that sources which contain adult material such as magazines which offer sex advice stay out of reach from their young children. Parents should also do some research on the kinds of story books that their children are reading to ensure that they are age appropriate.
2. Communicate with your children
Parents should always try to communicate with their children and take their childrens’ feedback seriously. It is impractical to expect parents to always know what their children are reading. Thus a good solution would be to encourage children to provide feedback to parents when they encounter material that they find confusing or disturbing.
3. Educate your child
Parents should educate their child that not everything they read can be trusted. If your child alerts you to a false article, parents should take the opportunity to educate and enlighten your child on the truth regarding the matter that your child brings up. Parents can also try to teach their child skills to discern whether a source is credible or not. However parents should take note that the critical thinking skills of a child are limited and thus should not put unnecessary pressure on the child to be able to differentiate between the truth and the lies.