Honors English Comp. II
April 23, 2010
Censorship; A Child’s Daily Vitamin
It can be alleged that American children are addicted to television. However, some television programs repeatedly expose children to obscenity-laden language and casual sex related situations. The influence that this type of viewing poses on school-age children must be monitored. The argument surrounding media censorship and children has been widely disputed. Censorship, by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition, is the systematic effort, usually by a state or government, to forbid speech, publications, or other forms of expression that are deemed objectionable. The 19th article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically enjoins that, “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression,” (Bender 147). Therefore giving a basis for media directors and program supervisors to create and put on the air their own means of expression. Censorship justifies the limitation of expressions that cross the lines of human morality and humanity causing it to be in society’s best interest to protect the vulnerability of developing children. With the arrival of the digital age of media viewing, new problems relating to censorship have aroused and in many ways legislation has failed to keep up. Ultimately it is the state that has both authority and the means to implement the widespread use of censorship when dealing with television viewing. (“Censorship”). Nevertheless, when the government fails to fully provide the vitamin that children need, parents must complete the dosage.
The American Psychological Association estimates that the average American child sees one hundred thousand acts of violence and vulgarity on TV before reaching the age of thirteen. Because of this, congress reacted to this trend in 1996 by passing a telecommunications act that, in part, requires television manufacturers to install a V-chip in every television set. The V-chip enables parents to block programs with excessive violence from showing on the television sets in their homes. Since the 1996 act was passed, the government has taken the first steps to making television viewing more suitable for children. (Bender 18). However, parents should be the primary observer of what their children watch. Though the government enacts laws to protect certain media viewing, parents should not give restrictive rights to behaviorist and executives. Children are very susceptible to being influenced by what the watch and see throughout the earliest stages of their lives. Therefore, just as a vitamin builds a child up to be healthy physically, censorship provides a daily dosage of mental health. Thomas Storck, examiner of various arguments against censorship, said it best; “Whatever restrictions the American Constitution wisely or unwisely imposes on governmental power with respect to freedom of expression do not apply to governments in general.” (Bender 148). Storck simply argued that “there is nothing intrinsically wrong with censoring.” Governmental censorship protects what insufficient parenting does not. Many stipulations can insinuate that parenting and governmental censorship operate together in an effort to protect growing children. Whether it is done by the government or a child’s parent, practicing censorship proposes suggested television viewing which protects children from obscene influences, violent mishaps, and racist and discriminatory remarks.
Spongebob Squarepants is one of Nickelodeon’s highest rated shows. The show exploits adventures of the title character and his Bikini Bottom friends and is shown on Nick more than three times per day. The yellow, square shaped sponge is what children, even teenagers love to watch. However, in a recent Burger King ad Spongebob is depicted singing and dancing about women’s backsides, stating “I like square butts and I cannot lie.” (Postal). The Burger King commercial highly sexualized...
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