The Instigator
brittwaller
Con (against)
Winning
55 Points
The Contender
polka-dots323
Pro (for)
Losing
33 Points

Children should be lied to

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/12/2008 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,698 times Debate No: 2577
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (17)
Votes (25)

 

brittwaller

Con

I believe that lying to children, whether in the form of perpetuating silly myths like the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, or by withholding factual answers to their questions about subjects such as sex and death, is bad, primarily for the children themselves but also for society as a whole.

Lying either directly or by omission is harmful because children eventually find out the truth, and an air of distrust is created. Children hear their parents say "It's wrong to lie" all of the time, but when they find out that Santa Claus doesn't exist, their natural reaction is one of confusion and eventual cynicism - "Why should I not lie like my parents told me to when they obviously lie?"

Even more dangerous is withholding information on more substantial issues such as sex, death, and the harshness of the world in general. There is no reason not to answer whatever questions a child asks in a truthful manner. Parents and other adults who lie by omission may think they are protecting children, when in fact full disclosure would be a great deal more helpful to children in their journey through life.

I look forward to a good debate.
polka-dots323

Pro

You stated that it is not good to lie to children about Santa, the Easter bunny, etc. How many children are actually hurt and affected by it? The children eventually figure out on their own, and are not offended or question. It is all in fun, fun to make the child's childhood more enjoyable and memorable. Really, what is the harm? I do agree that children should not be lied to from adults by other lies such as "If they are going to the doctor, etc." But there are ways to not directly answer the child's question while still not lying. For, the child may be too young to actually understand and could become worried or change their mood or behavior. But if the child is old enough to, he or she should not be lied to. The real only acceptable time to lie to a child is about Santa Claus and other mythical characters. Again, I ask what is the harm? We are not teaching them to lie. Also, it improves a child's life morally. The child learns from Santa that it is good to give to others. These ideas originated hundreds of years ago, and are traditions which children continue when they grow up and have kids also. :)
Debate Round No. 1
brittwaller

Con

The basic premise of my argument is that knowledge is to be preferred to ignorance.

"How many children are actually hurt and affected by it? The children eventually figure out on their own, and are not offended or question."

-An exact number of how many are hurt I cannot give. As for how many are affected, I would venture to say that all involved are in one way or another. The point is that if the children not lied to in the first place, they wouldn't have to "figure it out for themselves." As I mentioned in my opening, the children see the double-standard, even if they are not vocal about it. Their parents and others who perpetuate these lies automatically turn into liars and hypocrites - a great example for the young.

"But there are ways to not directly answer the child's question while still not lying. For, the child may be too young to actually understand and could become worried or change their mood or behavior."

-If the child is old enough to ask the question, he or she is old enough to be told the truth. I am not saying that the answer won't require nuance on the part of the parent or guardian.

"The real only acceptable time to lie to a child is about Santa Claus and other mythical characters."

-I must admit I find it amusing, but not surprising, that a Christian would write this. What were you thinking when you wrote that sentence? It is NEVER "acceptable" to lie to a child - and I would think that since one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt not lie" that a Christian would, especially for the context of a debate, avoid such a disastrous line of thought.
That aside, I must ask: Why is it "acceptable" to lie to a child in this context but not others? Where do you draw the line, and by what criteria?

"Again, I ask what is the harm? We are not teaching them to lie."

-Actually, you are teaching them to lie, by example. Children don't learn only what they are taught directly - they are like a sponge that soaks up everything around them. A lie is a lie, children recognize that. They might not recognize what are called "white lies," which are told in everyday conversation between adults for the sake of politeness or some other social convention, but lying about mythical characters cannot even be construed as this - it is an intentional deception of young children.

"Also, it improves a child's life morally."

-I suppose, if you consider placing your child's morality on an inevitable slippery slope an improvement. "Why should I not lie like my parents told me to when they obviously lie?" easily enough becomes "Why should I believe anything my parents tell me?" easily enough becomes "Why should I believe anything anyone tells me?"
I am not saying that individuals should not question their morality - I fully think that they should. However, there should at least be a morality to question, a foundation. When children are lied to from the get-go for no good reason about something so trivial, any moral foundation becomes eroded, and instead of a healthy and reasonable skepticism toward moral convention, all morality can be thrown out as equally burdensome.

"The child learns from Santa that it is good to give to others."

-The child doesn't learn anything from Santa because Santa does not exist. And again, why create a lie when you could simply tell the truth about Christmas? You would avoid a potential moral quagmire, and gain true admiration and affection from your children instead of eroding their trust. Imagine - children could learn the value of charity/compassion/goodwill from their parents, actual real human beings. What a travesty that would be! I also do not think that children would enjoy Christmas any less because they know that there is no Santa Claus - the gifts are still there.
You asked me what the harm was in lying in this manner to children; I ask you: What is the value of lying in this manner to children? What is the reason for it?

"These ideas originated hundreds of years ago, and are traditions which children continue when they grow up and have kids also."

-My point exactly. The lie keeps on being perpetuated, leading to more and more ignorance.
On a different note, perhaps you should investigate the actual origins of Christmas (I don't mean a baby was born in a barn) sometime since you think continuing these "traditions" is so important. You might be surprised.

Back to you.
polka-dots323

Pro

"I would venture to say that all involved are in one way or another."

How do you know? When I found out that Santa was not real, I wasn't mad or taught to lie by it. Also, I outgrew the idea. It's like how you outgrow certain phases in life. Also, I am unsure of whether you are fit to be debating on the issue of certain religious practices and traditions if you, yourself, are not religious. As I see from other debates, you seem not to be. Did you believe in Santa when you were young? If so, has it taught you to lie? I for one have not been affected in a negative way by the tradition and I am one who HAS been involved in it.

"I must admit I find it amusing, but not surprising, that a Christian would write this. What were you thinking when you wrote that sentence? It is NEVER "acceptable" to lie to a child - and I would think that since one of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shalt not lie" that a Christian would, especially for the context of a debate, avoid such a disastrous line of thought.
That aside, I must ask: Why is it "acceptable" to lie to a child in this context but not others? Where do you draw the line, and by what criteria?"

What I meant by this comment is not that it is acceptable to lie, but what do you really consider to be lying? Is continuing traditions really and truly considered lying? I don't believe that it is. Also, religion should not be a part of this. This is a debate about LYING. I can infer from your other debates that you are not religious, I am sorry if I am not correct, but I also find it funny coming from someone who is not religious to be arguing on religious practices, that you may have not ever even experienced. (Again, I am sorry if I am not correct, but please do correct me if I am wrong. 

"-My point exactly. The lie keeps on being perpetuated, leading to more and more ignorance.
On a different note, perhaps you should investigate the actual origins of Christmas (I don't mean a baby was born in a barn) sometime since you think continuing these "traditions" is so important. You might be surprised. "

Actually, I have researched the actual origins of Christmas, and in fact, it was created to honor the birth of Jesus Christ. The traditions came from this. An old man supposedly came around and placed small items in children's shoes. This is how Santa originated. Although, Santa is neither the meaning for Christmas, nor should it be the main point (about your comment about receiving gifts) it is a tradition that has been continued for centuries. Are you insinuating that we should take away from a person's childhood simply to not take the risk of affecting them by "lying."

I believe that my opponent has only come up with an argument that lying to children about things such as Santa, the tooth fairy, etc, is bad for the children and will affect them in many ways. I would love for you to prove this and tell me that this is affecting all the millions of children who follow these traditions and participate in it in a very negative way. I believe that it all depends on if you define "traditions" as lies
Debate Round No. 2
brittwaller

Con

First, let me clear this up.
You wrote: "How many children are actually hurt and affected by it?"
I answered: "An exact number of how many are hurt I cannot give. As for how many are affected, I would venture to say that all involved are in one way or another."
You then quoted me out of context and wrote: "How do you know?"

1) I know by definition, because if one is involved in something they are necessarily affected by it. This doesn't mean that in EVERY instance the influence is completely negative, but I didn't make that argument in the first place. I am arguing that children should not be lied to.

2) "When I found out that Santa was not real, I wasn't mad or taught to lie by it. Also, I outgrew the idea. It's like how you outgrow certain phases in life."

Irrelevant. You are one case. I am speaking of the overall gross affect that lying has on children and society.

3) "Also, I am unsure of whether you are fit to be debating on the issue of certain religious practices and traditions if you, yourself, are not religious. As I see from other debates, you seem not to be. Did you believe in Santa when you were young? If so, has it taught you to lie? I for one have not been affected in a negative way by the tradition and I am one who HAS been involved in it."

Also irrelevant.

4) "What I meant by this comment is not that it is acceptable to lie, but what do you really consider to be lying?"

Too bad, because that is not what you wrote: "The real only acceptable time to lie to a child is about Santa Claus and other mythical characters."
As for the definition of a lie, here is Wiktionary's definition:

Etymology 2
Old English lēoġan, from Germanic.

Verb

(intransitive) To give false information intentionally.
(intransitive) To convey a false image or impression.
Photos often lie.

Etymology 3
Old English lyġe

Noun

An intentionally false statement; a falsehood.
A statement intended to deceive, even if literally true; a half-truth

5) "Is continuing traditions really and truly considered lying?"

If said traditions involve intentionally false statements, yes.

6) "Also, religion should not be a part of this."

Actually, it cannot help but be, as most of the lies we are talking about center around religious superstition, either directly or indirectly. My observation about you being a Christian, however, was superfluous and possibly uncalled for - my apologies.

7) "This is a debate about LYING."

Agreed. You are In Favor of the claim that "Children should be lied to." Also, you decided to center the debate on Santa Claus by using that case as your prime example; I gave numerous examples of lies that are told to children and you basically conceded on every point except Santa Claus, so I worked with what I had.

8) "I can infer from your other debates that you are not religious, I am sorry if I am not correct, but I also find it funny coming from someone who is not religious to be arguing on religious practices, that you may have not ever even experienced. (Again, I am sorry if I am not correct, but please do correct me if I am wrong.[)](sic)"

See point #7; and irrelevant.

9) "Are you insinuating that we should take away from a person's childhood simply to not take the risk of affecting them by "lying[?]"

No, I am EXPLICITLY saying that we should add to children's' childhoods - their sense of morality, their store of knowledge, and thus their quality of life - by NOT LYING (notice - no quotation marks around *lying*).

10) "I believe that my opponent has only come up with an argument that lying to children about things such as Santa, the tooth fairy, etc, is bad for the children and will affect them in many ways."

Thank you.

In closing, my opponent has provided no evidence as to WHY children should be lied to, and even agreed that they should not be lied to, except in the "acceptable" case of Santa Claus. Even in this example, my opponent has provided no good reason for the lying to take happen in the first place. I will end on the primary thrust of my argument - that knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Lying to children, about anything from Santa to the facts of life, impedes their understanding and knowledge of the world and is therefore a bad thing.

Thank you for the debate.
polka-dots323

Pro

"Also, you decided to center the debate on Santa Claus by using that case as your prime example; I gave numerous examples of lies that are told to children and you basically conceded on every point except Santa Claus, so I worked with what I had."

I do believe that you created this argument stating " I believe that lying to children, whether in the form of perpetuating silly myths like the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, or by withholding factual answers to their questions about subjects such as sex and death, is bad, primarily for the children themselves but also for society as a whole."

So that is what I debated.

Also, about how you said whether or not you practiced the tradition was irrelevant, no it is not. It is the same as saying Carrots are gross and I have never even tried them. You should not say that Santa Claus and continuing these traditions is bad if you yourself have not participated in them.

I will close with this. My opponent has stated in his opening argument that continuing these traditions was bad for the children. He has yet to prove to me that this is so. Also, my opponent has stated that it is irrelevant whether or not he has practiced these traditions. It is the same as stating that Whole wheat is gross and I've never tired it. My point is, these traditions have continued for centuries. Is it really necessary to stop them just because we maybe "afftected" the children? Are we really "lying to them?"
Thank you for the debate.
Debate Round No. 3
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Logical-Master 8 years ago
Logical-Master
Cleaners voter reporting for duty.

Conduct: CON makes a claim concerning that PRO is a christian yet is arguing behind that position that children should be lied to, yet turns around and calls "PRO's attempt to counter CON by mentioning CONs beliefs" as irrelevant. Bad form. This a debate. You are to overcome your opponent's arguments, not your opponent. On the other hand, I dislike how PRO attempts to use his own personal testimony as evidence. I also don't like how PRO's effort in his final round is simply disgraceful. It's like he didn't even care about the debate. Overall, I wasn't impressed by either debater's conduct. Tie.

Spelling and Grammar: Nearly a tie, however, I found that PRO made more punctuation errors than CON. Thus, CON wins this one.

Convincing arguments: Neither debater seemed to bring anything up that even remotely resembled an argument for the Burden of Proof until the final round, thus, I'm not taking it into consideration and am simply going to judge this debate based on my own understanding of the BOF (which is alot like beem0r's when it comes to debate). Overall, I think CON managed to show why his position is more likely true than PRO's. Given that the contender was on the position of "pro", that means that his job was to affirm that children should be lied to. He only tried to to do this when it came to Santa Claus and the Easter bunny (positions which he hardly even defended, especially in his closing round). He may have been able to get away with such a tactic if he were CON, but since he is PRO, he pretty much conceded that there are times when children shouldn't be lied to.

Reliable Sources: No sources cited, thus, no vote here. Tie.

Yours truly,

The private investigator of the cleaners.
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
A question (probably in vain): how did I go froma 2:1 margin of victory to a tie on this one?

^sighs^
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
dots: If *you* do not address the points yourself in your next round, you have dropped the ball and conceded those points. Friendly advice.

Britt
Posted by polka-dots323 9 years ago
polka-dots323
brittwaller: If you felt as though the other things I did not bring up in my 1st argument that were in your opening stemant, were good for the debate or needed to be addressed, then you should have brought them up again. I did however talk vaguely about the points in:

"I do agree that children should not be lied to from adults by other lies such as "If they are going to the doctor, etc." But there are ways to not directly answer the child's question while still not lying. For, the child may be too young to actually understand and could become worried or change their mood or behavior. But if the child is old enough to, he or she should not be lied to."

I did not address each point individualy, but I did as a whole. I am sorry if that was not detailed enough, but I did include them in my argument.
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
dots: You conceded everything in my opening argument *except* Santa Claus: "The real only acceptable time to lie to a child is about Santa Claus and other mythical characters."

You're very welcome for the debate.
Posted by polka-dots323 9 years ago
polka-dots323
As I said, I already know the origins of Christmas, as I have already stated below. Also, you are the one who seemed to center the debate around things such as Santa, Easter bunny, etc.

"I believe that lying to children, whether in the form of perpetuating silly myths like the existence of Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy"

Also, this is what you had mentioned throughout the enitre debate, so I went with it.

Thank you for the debate though. :)
Posted by brittwaller 9 years ago
brittwaller
Yes Yraelz, that was what I was speaking of when I told polka-dots I would explain the origins of Christmas.

Moondragon613: That was what I was hoping for as well, but my opponent more or less made it about Christmas, which was not my intention. Excellent point on Christmas and consumerism, though.
Posted by polka-dots323 9 years ago
polka-dots323
Yraelz, You are right. The Bible never gives a date of birth for Jesus. Actually, it probably would have been any time but December 25th. This was just a day created to honor his birth.
Posted by MoonDragon613 9 years ago
MoonDragon613
Alas, there was no fierce battle on whether or not lying is inherently wrong / which is more important the lie or the purpose behind the lie, as I had hoped to read.

Also what would have been fun to read would be the extensive commercial implications of Christmas and the devastating effects on the American economy and the toy industry if children stopped believing in Santa. =P

(oh welz, not everyone's me I guess)
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Hmmm going to have to vote for Brittwaller on this one. He points out that polka does not uphold his/her end of resolution.

The line about Jesus being the origin of Christmas isn't exactly true. Especially since there is no account in the new testament of Jesus' birthday being the 25th. However the 25th was celebrated long before Jesus as what are now considered Pagan god's birthdays. Horus back before 2000 B.C is the earliest I know of that supposedly was born the 25th of December. There are countless others though. Ishtar the Babylonian and Assyrian god was born on December 25th. Sol Ivictus the roman god. Mithras was another.

However Christmas as we know it today can primarily be attributed to the Romans attempting to convince others to join Christianity while keeping the traditional Dec. 25th holidays. Its basically just a spin off of old Pagan holidays though.
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