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Censorship: Simply Not Enough Essay

2207 words - 9 pages

Not too long ago, an evening television program caught mine and my daughter’s attention. It was a cute family comedy verging close to her bedtime. I was relaxed as we spent some quality time together, and out of nowhere I felt as if I had been punched in the face when a curse word came out of the so-called 15 year old actor’s mouth. Playing it cool, I glanced down at my young daughter who did not even flinch. I thought to myself, when were those words allowed to be uttered on television? Even worse, was my daughter’s reaction, or in this case non-reaction, because of desensitization or did she simply not hear it? Since then I have found myself immersed in the censorship dispute. Globally, media censors have loosened their grip significantly which have had a positive social impact, for the most part, but have they gone too far? I, for one, yearn for the “Mayberry” days where life was simple and no one had to worry about what children were watching on TV.
In 1973, Thomas Elmendorf, an emergency room physician, made a speech to the American Medical Association about the increase in violence behavior among young adults and it’s correlation to violence on TV. In it he cited that “Murder is the fastest growing cause of death in the United States. The annual rate of increase exceeded 100 percent between 1960 and 1974.” He also goes on to explain that by the time a child graduates high school, they have spent an astonishing 18,000 hours in front of the TV, not to mention other forms of media, versus 15,000 hours in the classroom. Elmendorf also elaborates that within those 18,000 television hours, a young adult will have witnessed “18,000 murders and countless highly detailed incidents of robbery, arson, bombings, shootings, beatings, forgery, smuggling, and torture- averaging approximately one per minute in the standard television cartoon in children under ten.” No wonder media censorship has been a hot debate for the past forty years. The data on media violence and the desensitization it causes to violent behavior is readily available and quite convincing. As we all grow and mature, we become well aware of violence and crime in society. It is not a situation whereas without TV portraying it, we would not know that it existed. There is absolutely no need to have it in our face every time we switch on the television or open a magazine.
Sexual activity among teens is on the rise as well. This statistic has been reported numerous times for the past 25 years. Many theorists believe the root of this stems from exposure to sex on television. Dr. Rebecca Collins and her associates conducted a survey of teens age 12-17. The researchers gathered a list of the 23 most popular television programs and rated them based on the program’s sexual content. Teens were then surveyed twice, one year apart, on their viewing habits of these specific 23 programs, their attitudes toward sex, as well as their own actual sexual activity. The results...

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