NYRA believes that “explicit content” warnings in media prevent youth from learning about “adult” concepts and content in a responsible and educational way. Instead of establishing an arbitrary age, NYRA supports educating youth on consuming media in a responsible way and demystifying the stigma around adult subjects.
Censorship establishes an arbitrary age at which a child is determined old or mature enough to consume content deemed “adult”. The censorship disclaimer does nothing to prevent youth from consuming the content. It does, however, incite a feeling that the content is mysterious and therefore desirable. This results in youth consuming the content in private and hiding their knowledge from parents and other responsible adults. As a result, youth still consume the content, but in private and without the oversight of a parent or adult. NYRA supports doing away with the “censorship” label. Parents should guide when and how children approach the sensitive topics covered by censored content, while still allowing their children to grow and explore their own boundaries. With a parent’s help, censored content is demystified and turns into an educational opportunity. The material covered by a censorship warning cannot be deemed acceptable to consume at a certain age, but rather at a stage of maturity. This stage cannot be dictated by unnecessary government warnings, but instead by parents and adults with knowledge of the child’s maturity level. A parent has a vested interest in a child’s maturity and can lend the guiding hand to educate and prepare the child for mature content.
The issue of censorship is an issue at every level of government from the federal level to local school boards. Despite numerous landmark First Amendment cases on the issue, censorship still afflicts nearly every form of media in every facet of American life. The most damaging area is in public schools for America’s youth population.