2009.02.15 23:23:43
Susan Jackman

Should the idea of censorship used in the recording industry be applied to the internet?

Perhaps as a parent I have a biased opinion, but I do feel that it an incredibly important step that we as a society can take to protect children from Media Violence.  This has always been the main argument, calling for controls on media content are cast as efforts to protect the children, from to labeling it, restricting access to it, or censoring.  Children are different from adults, they are more vulnerable, impressionable, and less able to apply critical judgments on the appropriateness of media.

Seeing constant brutality, viciousness and unsocial acts results in hardness, intense selfishness, even in mercilessness, proportionate to the amount of exposure and its play on the native temperament of the child. Some cease to show resentment to insults, to indignities, and even cruelty toward helpless old people, to women and other children (Dr. Edward Podolsky).

The tendency of children to imitate the daring deeds seen upon the screen has been illustrated in nearly every court in the land. Train wrecks, robberies, murders, thefts, runaways, and other forms of juvenile delinquency have been traced to some particular film. The imitation is not confined to young boys and girls, but extends even through adolescents and to adults (Dr. Edward Podolsky).

In comparison to alternatives such as doing nothing, or complete censorship, labeling is not going to have a large impact on the media company, yet is a very positive step that gives parents more control over what there children are exposed to.

There are more issues than just protecting children from media violence; it’s not that simple.  Not coincidentally, when our society was experiencing dramatic increases in real-world violence and violent crime the media also began to portray violence, sex, and incivility in seemingly greater amounts and more graphically than ever before.  

Adults have always worried that the messages that media may influence children. These two trends have led to a perception that the mass media has a negative impact on society, and that controls or restrictions are needed. Since the First Amendment to the U.S. constitution guarantees freedom of expression, the labeling or rating system seems the only viable option, contingent that the government does not implement it.

A New York Times poll published these findings in Sex and power in popular culture, 1995

  • 80% of all adult Americans and 91% of all parents favored the establishment of a rating system for television;
  • 80% of parents believed that music recordings should be rated;
  • 86% of parents thought video tapes and video games need ratings

Are concerns about violence, sex and vulgarity in films are justified?  How can they be addressed?

I believe the research above justifies my opinion that it is a huge problem, and I also think presently we are doing the best effort we can by using rating systems.  I don’t think that as a consumer I can expect it to stop, considering that most adults want to see it.  The best I can do is tried to keep my children from being exposed to it.  Unfortunately they will be in school and hanging out at other children’s homes that may not have the same rules as I do, I will never be able to keep it from them completely, but at least I can minimize their exposure.

So the question remains, how do we apply this to the internet? In todays age, this must be taken a step further with the internet becoming such a huge part of mainstream life.

  Web-based Communication | Internet | Education | Technology | Susan Jackman