|image from Ginger at GReads!|
this week the lovely Ginger asks:
Banned Books: How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books?
this is a tough one. and timely too, as it IS banned books week and all!
my gut says - PEOPLE SHOULD READ WHAT THEY WANT WHEN THEY WANT SO SUCK IT!
but then, if i take .5 seconds to absorb the question, i realize that not all ages are ready for all reading materials. and that's where censorship comes in and that's where things get hairy.
do i think Harry Potter is going to turn children into witches? no.
do i think video games are going to make children violent? no.
do i think reading about paranormal romance is dark and sends an anti-feminist message? no. well, sometimes, but mostly no.
for me this always comes back to the parents. parents should know what their children are reading. and more importantly, they should be encouraging their children to read all the time! for example, one of my coworkers sets a timer every night for her daughter to read for 20 minutes. her daughter dreads this, but the coworker makes her do it anyway. last month, she found a book she absolutely ADORRRED. pretty cool, right?
but wait. there's more.
the daughter went to the library to get another book by that author and was thrilled to start reading it. but then it was talking about 'drinking' and 'virginity' and the daughter was disgusted! things like that are GROSS and she wants no part of it.
and then, the best thing ever happened - the daughter told her mom (my coworker) about it and how she did NOT want to read it. mom said "okay", and they found a new book. let's go over that again. the daughter TALKED TO HER MOM about her book. in this case, the reader made the decision about what's appropriate and what isn't - which i think is largely due to solid parenting. the mom thought she was ready for the book and the daughter didn't. they are both more aware of the reading comfort level and the communication between the two of them is open. i love it and i hold it as an excellent example.
as far as part two of the question, i don't think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to. if a school board deems something as not okay for my kid to read, but i deem it okay, we'll just read it at home. i realize there is a whole can of worms inside of the 'the system telling us what to read' idea, and that's a larger problem than i'm willing to tackle today (or ever, probably.)
ultimately, i think it comes down to dialogue between the parents and children.
but what about you? what are your thoughts? let me know in the comments and be sure to link it up over at GReads! and don't forget to celebrate banned books week!