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Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model

The “Lost Children of Rockdale County” video details the story of teenage students engaging in immoral behaviors in Conyers, Georgia, which, in turn, resulted in an outbreak of herpes, genital warts and syphilis in the city, particularly among the teenagers. According to Bronfenbrenner (1994), the different aspects of the surrounding environment have an immense impact on a person’s development. In this regard, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model asserts that a person’s development occurs in phases marked by different levels, namely microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem. The “Lost Children of Rockdale County” video explicitly displays the various underlying systems in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model including their interaction in Conyers, Georgia in demonstrating the influence of the environment in children development. It is worth understanding that the children displayed various characteristics including a sense of immunity, need for acceptance, and loneliness and poor judgment at an individual level.

In Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model, microsystems define the immediate environment that an individual directly engages in as well as the individual interactions with others. In “Lost Children of Rockdale County” video, microsystems directly influence the young students to a greater degree in comparison to the other systems of the ecological model. The dominant microsystem aspect includes the poor parenting of the respective students. In Conyers, the majority of parents failed to set limits for their children and thus, engaged in very little supervision as they were very permissive to their children. For instance, Kevin’s and Jenny’s parents did not place any importance to discipline and parenting as they perceived that their children would naturally get along better. The lack of parenting promoted the indulgence in unprotected intercourse among the young students in shocking ways. Although some parents knew of the students’ scandalous actions, they neither intervened nor show any concern thinking that an intervention would be bothersome.

The other system seen in “Lost Children of Rockdale County” video is the microsystems. The system involves the interaction existing between certain microsystems. For instance, the interaction between the parents’ workplace and home influenced the children’s development. Here, the workplace was too busy and thus, allowed the parents little to no time to be with their children. Additionally, the parents came home too tired to talk and monitor their children concerning certain important issues marking their lives. Aside from that, exosystem also had a part in the children’s development. Here, exosystem defines existing linkage between different settings and that indirectly affects the developing child. For instance, the relationship between the children’s peer groups and the churches, as well as the media messages send to the students through TV and music influence the children.

The last system in Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model includes the macrosystem. The macrosystem exercises a significant impact on the young students since it entails the student’s belief system and values, and dominant ideas. For instance, the sexual promiscuity marking the city, as well as the new dating and sex rules, substantially influences the students. Aside from that, the shooting that occurred at school also had the capability of affecting the children’s’ development, which, in turn, expresses a deeper malady affecting the young students in the city. Therefore, Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model of child development is applicable in “Lost Children of Rockdale County” in all levels.


Bronfenbrenner, U. (1994). Ecological models of human development. Readings on the development of children2(1), 37-43. (2019). Transcript | The Lost Children Of Rockdale County | FRONTLINE | PBS. [online] Retrieved on 19 Mar 2019 from


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