We Need Censorship
Length: 1929 words (5.5 double-spaced pages)
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We Need Censorship
It won't kill us to make limits, but it might if we don't. That is why it is JUSTIFIABLE to limit adult's freedom of expression--it is in our, society's, best interests to protect the children. Lional Tate is just one example of a child gone bad because of the media. Tate mimicked his idol the Rock, killing a six-year old girl by smashing her skull, pulverizing her liver, breaking her ribs and causing numerous cuts and bruises. If that's not enough of an example what about the teen from New Jersey who simply listened to Ozzy Osborne's "Suicide Solution" and killed himself? These are not random occurrences, we hear about them on the news frequently. If our freedom of expression is harming kids why can't we fix the problem by not allowing them access to it?
Argument one, People, especially children are very susceptible to being influenced by what they watch or see happen throughout their lives.
"Monkey see, Monkey do." Everyone has heard this phrase sometime in his or her life. This phrase is simple, yet very applicable to today's debate. When a child sees someone or something doing something. They will of course follow suit and imitate the action being performed. Children do not know any better. Therefore they are innocent and deserve to be respected. It is for these following reasons that we argue for the censorship of harmful materials that could influence a child or children into violent acts, expressions, and other dangerous actions. Through television, video games, and movies, children and teens view countless acts of violence, brutality, and terror as part of entertainment. They become conditioned to associating violence with entertainment. First-person shooter video games develop our children's skills in operating weapons. The games reward marksmanship, and further reinforce the association of killing with entertainment. In the past, the heroes of movie and television shows were usually people who strictly followed the law. Now, heroes are often people who take the law into their own hands, who see an injustice or evil and seek to rectify it personally, sometimes brutally, regardless of the consequences. Such portrayals signal, to a child, society's approval of that behavior.
Lacking the judgment that comes with age, a child who feels he has been dealt with unfairly may copy that behavior, with disastrous consequences.
John Stuart Mill on free expression: "The sole end for which mankind is warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of any of their number is self protection." Free expression is a wonderful thing, in principle. It is the foundation of a democratic society and many of the principles that modern society is based upon. Unfortunately, there is also a darker side: the detriment certain kinds of expression can have on children's development. The same children that will one day be the teachers, politicians and businesspersons of the world. If they are allowed to be exposed to less than the best in their formative years, the results might be a society without morals, children without moral fiber or integrity, mentally scarred by the horrors they have been exposed to. An eight year-old boy and a ten year-old accomplice now face charges of rape and sexual molestation after forcing another student to have sex with the eight-year old. Both told police that they had learned about sex from a pornographic video that the eight year-old's father had rented. The eight year-old told police after watching the tape that 'I wanted to have sex with her.' Pornography is just one of the forms of expression taken too far and is detrimental to the children of America.
Here's an interesting study that was done many years ago to make a point. I'll set it up, then you guess what happened. A teacher made a special video to show her class of third graders. The video was shot in a school playroom with lots of toys that 5-year-olds really like. One of the toys was an inflated Bobo doll that stood about as tall as a first grader. Near Mr. Bobo was a large plastic baseball bat. What the teacher did is this. She filmed one little boy in the playroom having fun with Mr. Bobo. She specifically instructed the little boy to pick up the large plastic bat and to knock the living daylights out of Mr. Bobo. And, being a good little boy, the kid whacked Mr. Bobo like it was two out in the bottom of the ninth with the home team trailing by one. Whack, wham, and bash. Now, here's the interesting part of the study. The teacher took this video and brought it to another first grade class one day. Just before the children went to their playroom for a little recreation, the teacher played the video for them. It showed many kids playing the playroom, but it also featured the home run hitter knocking Mr. Bobo into orbit. What happened when this audience of first grade kids went to the playroom after watching the video? Of course, they went hunting for Mr. Bobo and the Louisville slugger. And when they found them, well, it wasn't a pretty sight. This study seems so obvious that one wonders why it was ever done. Of course these kids observed the videotape, then when they got the chance, they applied what they had seen and imitated it. There are bad people in this world and they will attempt to teach the children that violence is good and that it is not bad to kill someone. The children of our society will of course attempt to imitate this action. You may think that this will never happen, but it is happening. Our children are being hit by wave after wave of violence and sex. The Internet amplifies this effect greatly as it provides an easily accessible outlet and way for children to view this type of material. Each day that goes on and we do not take action, children become more and more desensitized. They become used to the sight of blood and do not mind it. They may reach an extreme point in which they began to believe that violence is okay. It's not okay, and we need to ensure through any means necessary that children are protected. Limiting free expression is minor in comparison to children's future. Obscene material would be kept from reaching children and polluting their minds.
Argument 2, Children are very vulnerable
Study after study has shown the detriment exposure to violence, pornography, foul language etc. can have on children. For example, surveys conducted by the American Association of Pediatrics and the Federal Department of Health showed a direct correlation between violence in the media (i.e. cartoon shows) and being abusive and secluded in adolescent years. Obviously this is an example of one person's freedom of expression encroaching upon another person's rights, the one situation where limiting freedom of speech is justified. Numerous organizations that have reviewed innumerable studies, from the UN to the American Psychological Association, all agree that in the ages of childhood, especially up to the age of 7, children are very impressionable. They are prone to imitate what they see and hear. This might mean a child learns a good vocabulary from his parents, but it might also mean this same child comes to think of women as being subordinate to men, as is suggested in pornography and much of our `so-called' popular culture.
Children are weak and must be guided. Not only from a developmental standpoint, but also from a legal one, children do not enjoy the same independence that adults do. They are not allowed to drink, smoke, vote, view pornography etc... this is because they are still developing, and while they may be quite perceptive and intelligent, they are very susceptible to exterior influences and are generally not capable of mature, independent thought. Therefore the burden is upon parents, society and every person to safeguard children, to protect them from some of the darker sides of humanity until they have grown mature enough to be able to handle these evils themselves. These children are, after all, our future and we therefore owe it to them to give them the protection.
Children do not see the world through the same filter of experience that adults do. Children see things more literally. They do not possess the sophisticated sensibilities to distinguish fiction from reality. For example, did your mother ever tell you about Santa Clause? Didn't you believe, with absolute conviction, at one point in time that he was real? But now, years later, you and I both know that he is just a fictional story.
Argument three, not only do we need to censor television, movies, etc., we also need to limit the easy accessibility of these games to the general public, to protect our society.
According to MediaWatch on-line March 1, 2002: It's no secret that many video games in both arcade and personal computer formats are violent and sexist. The Duke Nukem series like Marathon, Descent, Doom, Unreal and Quake are wildly popular games called 'shooters.' Players move through the world behind a weapon learning to kill and destroy people, monsters, tanks, or aircraft without themselves getting killed. If that's not enough what about games like Max Paine and Grand Theft Auto, where you control thefts and killings? These games are life-like and explicit. In Duke Nukem pornography and nudity run rampant, whereas in Quake you can control "dykes" and "naughty nurses." All of these games, by the way, are available at Toys R Us...that's right a children's store.
Can you imagine holding a conviction of equal strength with violence...like since Duke Nukem can kill people so can I....or that because he degrades women so can I? We see these things as outrageous, simply, because we can distinguish between right and wrong, but a child can't. We can't have these games available so openly to the world. Just because it's "entertainment", doesn't mean it had to degrade women, or train us to become better shooters, or desensitize us to violence. It's possible to have just as much fun and entertainment by getting up off that couch, and going out into the real world. Spend some time with your friends, or go play sports, or go on a date, these activities provide plenty of entertainment without harmful hate, violence, etc.
In conclusion, We believe that the mediums for information (i.e. the Internet, TV, movies, video games, etc.) ought to be limited to some level (not entirely restricted), to better our communities and our society. We have proved this throughout our case with numerous examples of how violence can influence children, or of how children are extremely vulnerable in their "development" years, or how we don't need the hate and violence of today's mediums just to have fun. We already censor ourselves, so why shouldn't we censor the mediums through which we communicate. Example: It is considered social taboo to swear in the presence of small children. But would you find it perfectly acceptable if a colleague of yours came over and, in language too foul to speak of here, released a barrage of verbal insidiousness in plain sight of your 5 year-old child? No. That is why it must not be acceptable for television shows, etc. to get away with these harmful acts, that hurt our society so. Because of these reasons stated herein we strongly urge for the censorship of our information mediums.