Should censorship on the Internet be encouraged or discouraged? At times, it is almost dangerous to think about what is floating out there on the Internet for everyone to see. It almost seems that despite our best efforts, there is nothing that we can truly ever do to prevent children from coming across something that they shouldn’t. However, at the same time, we want to be able to feel like we can go on and surf the Internet without finding things that we aren’t particularly interested in seeing. For example, just the other day, I was looking up a term for some research that I was doing. All of a sudden the results came back with a bunch of pornographic material.
Everywhere you turn, it seems like there are censorship issues. When you go to a bookstore, there are the magazines in the plastic wrap that are placed out of reach of children. When you go to the movies, there are ratings that are put in place so that young people won’t be allowed to see the movie or so that others will know ahead of time whether or not the movie will be offensive. But slowly, quietly, over time, it seems like perhaps we are becoming more of a censor-free society in a lot of ways. The other day, I was watching a television show during prime time hours (hours when kids are awake and potentially watching television) while I was folding laundry. Keeping in mind that the show I was watching was actually suited for a younger audience, I was surprised and shocked when I heard how some of the main characters were speaking to one another. Was this what kids today were watching?! No wonder studies are showing that children are maturing faster than ever.
It seems that there are so many sexual innuendos in every piece of media that you watch (children movies included) that it becomes difficult to get away from it. From commercials for adults that air during the middle of the day to somewhat sexually charged sitcoms and movies, should we begin to reconsider the rules on censorship? If that is the case, then the way things are now- we would be forced to censor almost everything that aired on televisions! When you talk about censorship, however, you cannot help but bring up the issue of freedom of speech. Shouldn’t people have the right to do and say as they please….as long as they aren’t hurting any one else?
On that note, is our lack of censorship hurting younger people? What can be done about it on the Internet that we aren’t already doing? Obviously, no matter how hard we try to censor things on the Internet, it seems like a new loophole is born; a new spammer spamming; a new hacker hacking every minute. It is inescapable. Perhaps if we talk to our children and simply make them more aware of the hidden dangers that often lay lurking in URLs and in various search terms….perhaps they will take it upon themselves to avoid certain sites or certain areas of potential danger. I guess you could say that it is sort of similar to the whole “stranger danger” that parents teach their kids at an early age.