I believe censorship is a waste of energy. Before you completely judge me for that statement and say, “but little kids need to be protected!“, realize that I am talking about older children. What I mean is, once a child reaches a certain age, censorship is counter productive. By restricting media, parents only add to the curiosity.
When I was eight or nine, I was a huge fan of Britney Spears. I watched many of her live performances in which she danced around partially naked, but I didn‘t understand the controversy. I had neighbors who were appalled by my parents’ decision to let me idolize the pop star. I remember not being allowed to show their children my Britney calendar, and I didn’t quite understand why.
Around the same time, everyone was freaking out over Harry Potter being witchcraft. My best friend’s mother threw out my friend’s books, and expected my mother to do the same. Of course, my mom allowed me to keep the books. Then, my grandfather’s wife found out I was reading Harry Potter. She thought my parents and I were going to Hell, I am sure. So one night, I spent the night at my grandpa’s house, much like I did before he married that woman. The next morning, we went to her church, where the preacher talked about the evils of Harry Potter, and how anyone who read the series was on a straight path to Hell. Even at the age of nine, I recognized that I had been set up. I thought the whole thing was ridiculous. I wasn’t going to let that woman tell me what I could and could not read. When I got home, I read my books and loved them even more.
Children are typically restricted because many adults(falsely) believe children do not have the ability to separate fantasy from reality. As children get older, restriction is more based on mature content. When I was thirteen, I started to watch the reality show, My Fair Brady, which featured the marriage of model Adrianne Curry and Brady Bunch actor Christopher Knight. My mom advised me to stop watching the show, which only made me like it more. I was by no means a rebellious teenager, but I secretly watched the entire first season of My Fair Brady when it re-aired late at night. If my mom hadn’t told me to stop watching it, I would have probably gotten bored with it and stopped watching after a week or two.
By my teen years, my parents had no idea what I read. I mean, how could they keep track when I finished several books in one week? I primarily stuck to YA lit until I was sixteen, but you could say that I was greatly educated through more mature young adult books. When I was thirteen, my grandmother took me to Barnes & Noble to pick out books before I went off to summer camp. I remember picking out a few books on my own, and my grandmother picked up Kate Cann’s Mediterranean Holiday. Little did my grandmother know, she bought me my first book with a full-blown sex scene. My parents had no idea, but at that point, I read so much that it would have been impossible to censor anything I read.
The point is, once a kid reaches a certain age, they pretty much make those kinds of decisions on their own. If I’d been uncomfortable reading a book with a sex scene, I would have put it down. If I was uncomfortable and someone tried to stop me from reading it, I may have read it anyway. As long as the media is not negatively affecting a young person’s life, censorship only makes the person more rebellious.