Posts Tagged ‘Censorship’

Are Violent Video Games Worse for Children than Violent Movies?

February 13, 2014


grand theft

Growing up, one of the more popular video games around was a shooting game where you were a soldier charged with the responsibility of locating and killing Nazis. The fact that the villains were Nazis was a clear stunt by the game’s makers to disguise the mindless violence of their game.

Even as a youngster, I found the game very troubling. Whilst I have always hated Nazism, I didn’t feel comfortable with pointing a gun, pulling the trigger and killing. It might not be real, but the video game designers are fully aware that the person playing their game is meant to feel as if they are actually on a killing rampage.

Nothing I ever experienced from watching violent movies compared with the emotions of going on a video game shooting spree.

It’s even worse today. Nowadays, video games designers don’t bother with Nazi’s – they provide children with police and innocent bystanders as their targets instead:

Primary school pupils as young as six are re-enacting drug and rape scenes from Grand Theft Auto in the playground, a headteacher has warned.

Young children have been initiating games involving ‘simulating rape and sexual intercourse’ as well as having playground chats about ‘drug use’, according to Coed-y-Brain Primary School head Morian Morgan.

Staff at the school in Llanbradach, Caerphilly, blame the behaviour on the 18-rated and violent computer game series Grand Theft Auto, which sees players take on the role of criminals in America.

Latest instalment GTA V is thought to be one of the best-selling video games of all time, having sold more than 32 million copies worldwide.

A letter sent to parents said children were ‘acting out scenes from the game which include the strongest of sexual swear words’, ‘having conversations’ about sexual acts and ‘play acting extremely violent games that sometimes result in actual injury’.

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The Classic Children’s Books they Tried to Ban

July 1, 2013



It’s hard to imagine anyone would feel the need to ban any of these classic stories:

Most adults will have fond memories of reading of the adventures of Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood as a child, but few will realize that it was banned because the animals spoke.

The much-loved book by A.A. Milne is among several popular children’s books and a dictionary that have been banned in the U.S. over the years for being anti-Christian, too sexual or damaging to industry.

Important works of literature such as The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank, praised for its insight into the impact of the Second World War on children, was banned by a Virginia school over the ‘sexual content and homosexual themes’ when the definitive edition was released in 2010.

Other schools tried to ban it from reading lists because it was too depressing and last month a Michigan mother complained about its ‘pornographic tendencies’ over passages where Anne describes going through puberty.

Alice in Wonderland came in for similar criticism, with it being shelved in New Hampshire in 1900 for alleged references to sexual fantasies and masturbation. It has also been seen as promoting drug use.

Two books – Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree and Dr Seuss’s The Lorax – were both criticized for damaging the foresting industry.

A Colorado library barred the Giving Tree for being sexist in 1988 and in 1989 a Californian school district banned The Lorax incase it put children off a career in the logging industry.

One of the most popular Dr Seuss books, Green Eggs and Ham, was not allowed in parts of California because of suggestions of ‘homosexual seduction’, according to Buzzfeed.


Protecting Your Children From Online Porn Just Got Harder

January 28, 2013


I respect Twitter’s stance on censorship but it doesn’t make life any easier for parents:

The new video-sharing app launched by Twitter is running into some upstart problems as it is being filled with sexually-explicit content.

The ease and lack of restrictions on the service, called Vine, allows for racy users to spread porn quickly.

Like with Twitter, users are able to search the platform by hashtags, so technology commentors began realizing the problem when a quick run of the term porn- or a vast array of more specific sexual tags- immediately produces a host of dirty videos.

This new facet of the service strikes at a potentially perilous point for the company, as they are known to be very firm believers in the freedom of the users.

As pointed out by Tech Crunch, Twitter administrators are known for their censorship-free stance and only budge when it is a question of legality.

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Should a Children’s Book Celebrating Anti-Vaccination be Banned?

January 10, 2013


I don’t believe in banning material just because I find it misleading or insulting. In a true democracy people should have the right to voice their opinion on a range of issues, whether they are right or wrong is immaterial:

A BOOK promoting the “marvellous” health benefits of potentially fatal measles should be taken off the shelves, doctors say.

Melanie’s Marvelous Measles is an anti-vaccination book aimed at children. It claims – despite evidence that measles can kill and cause brain damage – that it’s a “good thing” to have.

The Australian Medical Association said the suggestion was wrong and misleading and that publishers “should be ashamed of themselves”.

On the cover of the book ‘Melanie’ is happily playing in the garden and showing off a rash on her belly. In the story, she is home with measles and her friend Tina is worried – but her mother reassures her.

“Firstly Tina, measles don’t run and catch you or hurt you… for most children it is a good thing to get measles,” she says.

“Many wise people believe measles make the body stronger and more mature for the future.”

Tina then asks if she can go and catch measles from Melanie. “That sounds like a great idea,” her mother responds, and suggests some carrot juice and melon might help Melanie recover.

AMA President Steve Hambleton said only the “crazies” thought that it would be better to get a disease than be vaccinated.

“They should be ashamed of themselves,” he said.

Click on the link to read This New Craze Proves that Adults are Just Bigger Versions of Children

Schools Should Not Block YouTube

November 30, 2011

YouTube, in my opinion, is the hidden gem of education. It’s hidden, not because people don’t know it exists or what it can do.  On the contrary, everyone and their dog is aware of the diverse clips that YouTube contains.  It’s hidden because many schools, including until recently my own, have chosen to block it. The reason for this is fairly understandable – YouTube contains clips which are clearly unsuitable for children.

Whilst this is true, there is too much to be gained by exposing children to the wealth of educational opportunities that exist on YouTube to justify blocking it.

The other day I wanted to buy a phone.  I had a few in mind, but didn’t posses the technological nous to help me find something that would best give me value for money and fulfill my practical needs. So I did what many do when they can’t make their mind up about something – I asked YouTube.  On YouTube I watched clips on the various phones, was given a run through of their features, advantages, design and reliability issues etc.

This helped me settle on a phone.  But my education didn’t stop there.  As I am a visual learner, I require more than just a booklet to follow.  To set up my phone and navigate my way through the different functions I turned to my dear friend, YouTube, who again, didn’t let me down.

YouTube is the modern-day instructive tool. It clearly and carefully teaches people practical skills in language they can understand. It plays the part of teacher.

At the moment I am teaching my 5th Graders about finding the lowest common denominator before adding and subtracting fractions. As a test, before writing this blog post, I typed some key words into a YouTube search and came up with many fine online tutorials on this very skill that kids can readily access.  It shouldn’t replace the teacher, but it can certainly help a child pick up a concept.

And it’s not just academic skills that can be developed through YouTube.  If my school hadn’t relaxed its position on YouTube, I wouldn’t have had the chance to show my students the best anti-bullying film going around. I have come across so many lame and unconvincing films about bullying in my time. So to first find Mike Feurstein’s masterful film, and then get the chance to show the movie to my appreciative class, was a major coup for my ongoing efforts in trying to keep my classroom bully free.  The film, posted below is as good a reason as any to allow teachers to use YouTube in the classroom.

Sure teachers have to be on the lookout for students who may exploit this privilege, but ultimately that is our job. If we banned everything that has possible risks or negative outcomes, we wouldn’t have much to work with at all.



Should Violent Video Games Be Banned?

July 26, 2011

I am glad to see that the recent events in Norway isn’t prompting any knee-jerk reactions in banning violent video games.  Although I dislike violent video games and would not want them in my house, I am not an advocate for banning them from the public.  As much as I despise violence of any kind, I don’t believe that violent games causes violent outbursts.

Proper censorship classifications is a much better approach:

THE Australian government will not back away from new classifications for violent video games despite suggestions they might have played a part in the Norwegian horror, says Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor.

State and federal attorneys-general last week ended years of debate and agreed to support an R18+ classification for video games, with the exception of NSW’s Greg Smith, who abstained.

Mr O’Connor has rejected calls for governments to reconsider their position after revelations that the man accused of carrying out the bomb and shooting attacks in Norway, Anders Breivik, was obsessed with violent video games.

“Because there’s a madman who has done just such atrocities in Norway, I don’t think means that we are going to close down film or the engagement with games,” he told ABC TV yesterday.

Mr O’Connor said that under the new R18+ classification, the 50 most popular adult games could no longer be played by 15-year-olds.

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