I think I have a very important question that everyone should really be asking and everyone should be answering as well. Where is the limit? The line between offensive inappropriate content and plain ignorant misinformation? Because I think we have it a little eskew.
The other day I was doing … I think it counts as research? Into how to become a little more involved in the community. As my partner and I have started a business in a University town it often feels like local community just isn’t existent here? There is a reason some of the businesses (Particularly the smaller ones) no longer function. *Something to think about Ormskirk Council* But I was doing research into a group/page I had found on facebook that would promote Ormskirk businesses.
That search led me to an app called Medium? If any of you have ever heard of it? It’s ok if you haven’t I will explain. It is almost like a blogging site, however, the posts are published as if they were actual articles from a newspaper. I think the idea is meant to be local news from actual locals so that everyone knows what is going on in the community.
Anyway, one of the articles was about young adult fiction. I assume it was a woman who wrote it. She described how her eleven year old daughter picked up a book from her school library. She described how some of the content of this young adult fiction was gangs, violence, sex, and swear words. She even went as far as to email the headteacher of that school about the content, complaining about how it is inappropriate and should probably be removed.
I have a few issues with this method of dealing with ‘inappropriate’ content. Everyone seems to believe that children don’t have a mind of their own? They also forget that it is very influential? So… Your only solution to content that could be classed as inappropriate is to just remove it from the equation all together? That doesn’t stop the fact that these children see it happening outside in a real life scenario, nor does it make it any less shocking. You’re pretending that children don’t need to see or know these things, you’re in very high levels of denial if you genuinely believe that your children don’t already know about these things happening.
What you’re essentially doing is creating a very naive, ignorant, and thoughtless system. No one takes into consideration that our parents are our biggest influences of our lives. As well as the fact that I can almost guarantee all the subjects classed as ‘inappropriate’ children will have experienced or witnessed them at some point. Blocking it out and trying to assume that children don’t know anything about these things is foolish. Because now, children are having to make up their own opinions on it. Without any form of guidance or explanation.
Why not educate them instead? Guide them? They are so easily influenced by the world when they are young. Rather than leaving them on their own, and letting them figure out by themselves. Educate them, influence them, explain why these topics might be seen as ‘inappropriate’. Give them a better understanding. They are children, not idiots.
I once, watched an anime cartoon on the internet in Japanese. There was a scene in it which involved a character stabbing the back of his hand in order to make sure the poison didn’t circulate his body. This anime cartoon was then a few years later released in the UK. The UK censored that much that, that scene was cut out of the episode. It then left the whole episode not making sense because it was a crucial point in which the character has to get over his fear of conflict. It wasn’t particularly traumatic either, there was a bit of blood but really? Was it because he cut himself?
It was blocked. Censored. Why?
Because we have this weird perception that children can’t see these things, that it is better for them never to know. But it’s not like it is blocked from their view and then when they get to a particular age they are then taught anything. No, it just gets left, and so again their interpretation of a subject is then left without any form of guidance.
Before anyone asks I don’t have children, I wouldn’t know how to engage with this kind of conversation because we as a society have made it awkward to approach. You try to teach your children about the things they see then you’re judged based on if you choose to answer it or block it out. Like mini Teresa Mays all questions no answers.
So, to the woman who decided to email the headteacher of her daughter’s school – Rather than be outraged that a school would provide such a book in their library, why not sit down with your daughter and discuss the topics, see what she actually thought about the story, engage with her about these things. She might surprise you. You may be her parent, but you were her first teacher too.