• Vera Mont
    313
    There has been much discussion of the role of education in civics, political awareness, democracy and good citizenship.
    One role of the education system is to present reading material to students, and incidentally, to withhold reading matter from students. Of late, some state legislatures have banned certain textbooks from their public schools, not on the grounds of inadequate or incorrect information but on the grounds of inappropriate subject matter.
    From time to time, governments or their agencies ban literature from public libraries and prohibit their sale in bookstores and newsstands.

    Is there any justification for censorship of any kind?
    If so - where, when, why and by whom?
  • NOS4A2
    6.3k


    Is there any justification for censorship of any kind?
    If so - where, when, why and by whom?

    The most pernicious justification for censorship at any institutional level that I notice is that such and such information will cause harm, and is therefor dangerous. But invariably, and at its core, the motivation of the censor is that there exists information he does not like (or his masters do not like) and he does not want others to see it. He will deprive others of their right to receive and impart information so that this motivation will be satiated. It’s a pitiable existence.
  • universeness
    3.5k
    Is there any justification for censorship of any kind?Vera Mont
    This is the sentence I struggle with.
    How extreme do we have to go in exemplification, before we start to think of who we don't want this information to be available to, as a free public resource. How about the following titles?

    How to be a better criminal (100 tips to escape justice).
    The terrorist/freedom fighters tool kit.
    How to control people.
    Best ways to kill yourself.
    Why the white way is the right way.

    Should these titles be available to everyone?
    How about the illustrated, 5- to 10-year-old versions, with 20 built-in pop-up pages?
    Is there a book or even a pamphlet title that for you, would be a step too far?
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Is there a book or even a pamphlet title that for you, would be a step too far?universeness

    For me, there are many. I would not let young children read anything I had not previously vetted for horror, violence and sadism - a lesson I learned the hard way when I inadvertently gave my son what I thought was an adventure story that turned out to be a week of night-terrors and insomnia. If it's just a question of adult content, I would want to know what they're reading and watching and take time to discuss it with them.
    School books are a difficult proposition, because there is always the question of accuracy, pertinence and grade-level of the information, which is difficult for lay persons to judge. I'm far more inclined to trust teachers with the selection of textbooks than any outside body.
    Similarly, I think what's available in the public library should be decided by the library staff (not any one person) who are probably better judges both of literature and the public's wishes than any government agency. What's available in a bookstore should be up to the owner.
    I would be tempted, however, to label or grade literature, as well as video games and graphic entertainment. I appreciate the warning on television programs. (even though they're often too general to be useful. Smut shops and sadistic games should be labelled as clearly as cigarette packages. In practice, I don't think such warnings deter anyone, including children and youth, from seeing whatever they want. All those titles,
    How to be a better criminal (100 tips to escape justice).
    The terrorist/freedom fighters tool kit.
    How to control people.
    Best ways to kill yourself.
    Why the white way is the right way.
    universeness
    and much worse, are available on the internet.

    I believe that a much more effective approach is simply awareness and factual information. I believe that parents and teachers need to take responsibility and have authority over their own spheres of influence. That is, separate spheres of influence, so that, if their philosophies diverge, the children are exposed to both sides of the issue.
    More importantly, though, I think we should support public broadcasting outlets and empower factual, in-depth journalism, discussion, review and analysis.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    How to be a better criminal (100 tips to escape justice).
    The terrorist/freedom fighters tool kit.
    How to control people.
    Best ways to kill yourself.
    Why the white way is the right way
    universeness

    Out of interest I think the reason these wouldn't be condoned is they're biased. By focusing on the negative while not offering the other point of view they suggest that the other side doesn't exist and can't be chosen.

    For example if I posit these alternative titles are they more palatable?

    "How criminals escape justice and how justice escapes being criminal. 100 flaws with legal systems and 100 flaws of the people that abuse them".
    "Terrorist verses freedom fighter. What's the difference? A discourse."
    "How to control people and thus how to recognise when you're being manipulated". (I'm sure politicians already have this book lol).
    "the ways people kill themselves and why they do it."
    "How white supremacy emerged and what it has done to society".

    I think these are more balanced topics that don't use their title as a biased assumption.

    If something is actually "true knowledge" then it can be used equally for good as it can for bad.

    Every coin has two faces.

    Only revealing one side of the coin is not ethical - its just "propaganda/agenda based" knowledge.
  • universeness
    3.5k

    How many items can you successfully juggle and for how long?
    To balance censorship, personal freedom, mental state, age/experience, education level.
    I think these 5 'juggle' items are not the only 'issue' items related to the censorship question.
    I think it's very hard indeed to get the balance correct in all cases or even in a majority of cases.
    Vera highlights some of the issues she is personally concerned about, and I think she (gender assumption based on name), would have a very large number of supporters, who share her concerns.
    Ben types about 'balanced' arguments and I fully agree that would be nice to achieve during all human discourse. BUT it actually rarely happens in reality.
    I think it's another one of those issues that we must always strive very hard to get right but will probably never get 100% correct every time. I agree with the viewpoint, that at the moment, based on all the crazy internet stuff that almost anyone can view, we are currently failing miserably, to protect vulnerable people online. The number of people, including very young folks who have harmed themselves or killed themselves due to what they have been exposed to or have encountered or have deliberately looked for online is quite horrifying.
    I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of those whose main motivation is how much money they can make from internet social networking.
    It seems a very difficult one to solve. My knee jerk solution would be some sort of 'global internet authority,' perhaps some globally accepted, United Nations type authority which could place people in some kind of 'walled garden' style system.
    Your age, experience, education level, mental state etc would be used to decide which websites you are allowed to visit and who you are allowed to interact with online, but even as I type this, I object to my own idea?

    How would YOU control access to online info? What methods would you use?
    What actually works and is very hard to circumnavigate?
    What would achieve the honourable goal of protecting the vulnerable?
    It seems very dangerous and foolish to suggest that no controls at all, is the best we can do.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.5k
    Of late, some state legislatures have banned certain textbooks from their public schools, not on the grounds of inadequate or incorrect information but on the grounds of inappropriate subject matter.Vera Mont

    I think you'll find that most banning or challenges take place through local school districts or governments. Given the peculiar fascination with and dread of sex in our Great Republic, my guess would be that most books proscribed have to do with sex.

    There are bans, and bans. Those addressed to what children are required to read will inevitably arouse the suspicions of parents, and the state (here at least) has little interest in acting contrary to those suspicions. Some bans are worth fighting, some are not.

    Before you despair, consider--while in school, particularly in elementary and high school, how many books which you were compelled to read as a student influenced you in any significant respect? I doubt there were many. I likewise doubt that any banned book students are compelled (told by a teacher) to read would greatly influence a student. If they want to read them, they'll find a way to do so regardless of any ban. If they don't, reading the books will probably be considered just another dreary chore.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    I think you'll find that most banning or challenges take place through local school districts or governments. Given the peculiar fascination with and dread of sex in our Great Republic, my guess would be that most books proscribed have to do with sex.Ciceronianus

    A much stronger political motivator is a POV that doesn't fit the far right's alternate history, alternate America, parallel universe.
    The bans have largely targeted books that focus on race and LGBTQ issues, and a large number of the banned books are written by non-white or LGBTQ authors.
    They came to prominence over the desergragation of schools and they have never altered that position.

    while in school, particularly in elementary and high school, how many books which you were compelled to read as a student influenced you in any significant respect?Ciceronianus
    I was fortunate enough to grow up in Toronto in the late 50's and early 60's. While the school library didn't stock anything raunchy or communist, the public libraries were quite liberal. What influenced me in the literature curriculum: Frost - come to think of it, most of the assigned poetry was inspiring - Dickens, Shakespeare, Hardy. I can't recall what novels we took besides 'Mayor of Casterbridge'' (which prompted me to go read Hardy); I know I went on to Trollope, Thackeray, Lawrence - was quite taken with 19th century Brits for a while, which led naturally to 19th century French and Russian writers... Oh, yes, 'Heart of Darkness' gave us a lot to chew over, though I never came to like Conrad. Thing is, whether the subject matter is politically controversial or not, good writing is worth getting to know. If it is controversial, it's worth discussing. If it engages the student's imagination and curiosity, it will have an influence.
    That's what they're afraid of, the science and Civil war and democracy deniers.

    If they want to read them, they'll find a way to do so regardless of any ban.Ciceronianus
    How would they know they want to read something the don't even know exists?
  • T Clark
    10.3k
    There are a lot of books out there, and a limited amount of library shelf space. So decisions have to be made about what to put in and what to leave out. Deciding no to include a book because a significant number of people in the community find it offensive is not necessarily unreasonable. Keeping books that include sexual content, violence, and difficult social issues out of elementary school libraries is also not necessarily unreasonable. I wouldn't have wanted my children, all adults now, to have to deal with that stuff. beyond what they need to get along with others.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Deciding no to include a book because a significant number of people in the community find it offensive is not necessarily unreasonable.T Clark

    No, it isn't. That's why I would leave it to the librarians in each community, rather than have a state-wide ban on any literature that contradicts the state legislature's POV.

    Keeping books that include sexual content, violence, and difficult social issues out of elementary school libraries is also not necessarily unreasonable.T Clark

    Assuming that elementary schools actually have libraries, that's why I would leave it up to the elementary school teachers to decide what's age- and reading level-appropriate for their students, rather than the state legislature or a vociferous religious lobby.

    I wouldn't have wanted my children, all adults now, to have to deal with that stuff.T Clark

    What if "that stuff" that's being kept from them is about people who are unlike them in some way? (Yes, if Billy-Bob says he's really a girl, he's a girl. It's okay to stop feeling guilty because you were attracted to him. Yes, the people in China are also human beings, and they didn't invent the Covid virus. ) Or factual history? (No, the Civil War was not stolen, the Confederacy lost; General Lee did not ride proudly into the glorious sunset and Jim Crow was not a very good policy...)
  • L'éléphant
    883
    Is there any justification for censorship of any kind?Vera Mont
    Yes, the family unit has the right to ban some reading materials from their household. If you or an organization starts censoring the family unit of that banning, then where does that leave all of us?
  • I like sushi
    4k
    What I believe is buried in your OP is the questioning of moral/ethical relativism.

    Anything could be justified, but subjective justification is just that … subjective.

    It makes perfect sense to pick what students learn and the order they learn it in. Does a pedagogical system necessarily have to be framed as ‘just’ or ‘unjust’. I think the idea of ‘justification’ tries to saddle education as something that takes place in a courtroom.

    Just like with ‘offence’ a particular method of education is not at all compatible with every person at any age. As for ‘offence’ in education I would strongly insist that ‘upsetting’ students with ‘questions’ is something every teacher must do at some point so the student can learn how to deal with problems that rouse emotional responses in them. The difficulty faced by every teacher is picking and choosing where and when to ‘challenge’/‘offend’/‘question’ students … this inevitably leads to situations where students ate sometimes more ‘offended’ than challenged. It is dance between the student and the teacher, and consider that whilst the student has only to deal with one teacher at a time the teacher has to do this multiple times for a relatively poor wage and high stress.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg … it is a very complex environment to work in and I have seen many teachers fall prey to being put into a position where they too often assume they are smarter than every student to the point that they feel scrutinsed unfairly if they make errors (which they will).

    A classroom works well if there is a reasonably large and equal share of humility between teachers and students. A know-it-all teacher is perhaps far worse than a know-it-all student. If there is one thing a teacher should teach - not that I believe in ‘teaching’ per se - it is to teach students to question everything rather than cling to answers as an end goal.

    An answer that cannot be applied to, or open up, more questions is not worth anything much at all.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    How would YOU control access to online info? What methods would you use?
    What actually works and is very hard to circumnavigate?
    What would achieve the honourable goal of protecting the vulnerable?
    It seems very dangerous and foolish to suggest that no controls at all, is the best we can do.
    universeness

    Great questions Universeness.
    I think the primary issue with the Internet is the fact that it's a non-physical (meta) dumping ground of any and every thought possible.

    I have seen the same people that behave socially and well mannered in public spew malicious and sinister content online. I suspect because a). they know it won't ever be tracked back to them/it's cowardly and b). They cannot engage with the facial expressions/the hurt/impact of what they say, and so it's harder to empathise.

    "If one has something to say, say it to my face". And such.

    In society we have a body. We are particulate. People can locate us as a source of nastiness. So the consequences of behaving this are very real.

    Online we have no body and can pop up anywhere like some random quantum blip, new profiles registered only for a day to commit some trolling. So it doesn't feel real (real subjects with emotions) to us and we can thus objectify everyone.

    Censorship on the Internet need not come from limiting speech, but from effectively tying online persona to in person persona. So that whatever someone says they actually mean because they know it could impact their job, their personal relationship with friends, their education, their day in a courtroom etc.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    How would YOU control access to online info? What methods would you use?universeness

    Okay so instead of a free for all where you can say just about anything to anyone anywhere in the world.

    Imagine that what you say (still free to say anything) based on some category gets automatically "cced" to the relevant people.

    Imagine for example a childhood bully posts an exposing and inappropriate photo of his victim.
    The post would automatically be sent to the victims parents, the bullies own parents, the school, whoever is deemed responsible for that child's wellbeing and the bullies actions.
    One would imagine online school bullying would come to a hault pretty abruptly.

    Consequences eh? They aren't so nice to acknowledge.

    The issue is, that requires an AI with Emotional intelligence running the Internet.

    An algorithm with the ability to identify potentially harmful content quickly and accurately based off an assessment of the sender and recipients personality types (so as to not misconstrue self deprecation/comedy/humour) as harmful. And then take out a guardianship role to protect the vulnerable.

    The irony is we already have such an entity - a sentient being, a person.
    We are already equipped with emotional intelligence and the ability to tell if something is harmful, so why isn't it working?

    There's a few issues why.

    One is "cohesion" . When you mix people of all different regions, cultures, political beliefs in a single online argument about one simple, specific thing, no matter how mundane, it is just chaos. A riot of opinions and personal attacks left right and center.

    For an issue to be contextually addressed (like a child getting Bullied in school) it must be done so from context. The Internet lacks context and you get opinions like (well girls should be quiet in class (from places where women's freedom is oppressed) , or she was asking for it? From someone accross the world that has no idea what's going on, or maybe she should wear longer clothes (from a Conservative) and how she dressed is irrelevant. It's about bullying (from some liberal feminist somewhere perhaps).

    Two - "virality." Information travels too fast on the Internet. Virality can be good - to make someone popular, famous, recognised. But it can also be bad - to make someone a scapegoat, play Chinese whispers, gossip and completely self propel a vicious cycle of abuse.

    Three - "Accountability" as I said earlier. These are serious problems we need to somehow address simultaneously if we want to maintain freedom of speech but protect the vulnerable at the same time

    In essence it will be about establishing truth on the Internet. The truth as to who is spreading lies and gossip to harm someone, the truth as to the identity/character/personality of the vulnerable person/ victim and truth as to the fact that its not tolerated to victimise helpless/innocent people and a serious apology and explanation is required.
  • universeness
    3.5k

    I remember a system we employed with our secondary school pupils (aged 11-18)
    Each pupil was given a network account and a passcode when they joined the school in S1.
    This gave them access to nothing except internal school info.
    As they attended each department, their teacher would give them access to the software and websites approved for that curriculum group, by adding their passcodes to a secured data file, which could only be accessed by the staff of that department.
    Any special needs materials could also be accessed via secured permission data files.
    A department or teacher could request access to another site (either temporarily or permanently) by going through a fixed process of 'why' the access was required, for how long and the site involved had to pass a list of general and subject specific criteria. This would then be passed to the senior management of the school for consideration at their weekly meetings.
    It was basically a walled garden system, but it did work very well in the particular school setting I worked in. There were some issues related to pupils gaining access to other pupil's passcode etc but these were dealt with quite successfully.
    Do you think we need such a tight system of control for the internet?
    Would each country become like a department in my school system?
    S6 pupils had a far wider walled garden than S1. Should it be the same for the internet?
    Would it be the government via the ISP's who decide on what access for which individuals?
    I think it's very necessary/interesting/important, perhaps even vital to debate the issue of the internet and the immense, perhaps even the most significant power there is on the planet today, which affect people's world viewpoints. BUT we really do all have to think about how this incredible power to influence people should be controlled/wielded.
    Right now, it seems to me, that's its currently like a delivery system that can reach so many people so quickly that its power to spread positivity or negativity is equal in capability.
    The fact that its power is currently underappreciated and uncontrolled and in the hands of a nefarious looking few is of great concern.
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    I think it's very necessary/interesting/important, perhaps even vital to debate the issue of the internet and the immense, perhaps even the most significant power there is on the planet today, which affect people's world viewpoints. BUT we really do all have to think about how this incredible power to influence people should be controlled/wielded.
    Right now, it seems to me, that's its currently like a delivery system that can reach so many people so quickly that its power to spread positivity or negativity is equally in capability.
    The fact that its power is currently underappreciated and uncontrolled and in the hands of a nefarious looking few is of great concern.
    universeness

    Exactly.
    There are those that would continue to use the Internet harmlessly for comedy, deep dives, curiosity and knowledge. And are fairly smart, productive and reasonably immune to misinformation. They are not the problem per se.

    Then there are those that pass on suspicious information and theories and possibly propaganda as well as some wholesome stuff because they're easily influenced and go with the flow (of information). And just don't think for themselves (don't know how or don't have the confidence) but rather look to others for approval or validation of what they ought to think or pass on.

    Then there's those that really are up to no good and use the Internet for pure propaganda, insighting of hatred, spreading harmful regimes and beliefs and ignorance etc. These are the problem.

    Now imagine they are all mixed up together with no way to regulate or divide them up.

    This. This is the Internet.
  • universeness
    3.5k
    These are serious problems we need to somehow address simultaneously if we want to maintain freedom of speech but protect the vulnerable at the same timeBenj96

    You raise many valid points but we humans are as a totality, quite clever and we have many experts in the field of computing and electronic information systems. My own niece works in internet security.
    There are many clever folks on TPF who have expertise in many fields. Surely we can travel a respectable distance by suggesting the basics of a system that could be employed on the internet which would give its users a positive, protected experience which enhanced their lives instead of having the current widely unpredictable effects it is having now.
    No-one should be killing themselves as a direct result of their experiences on the internet.
    Is a personal walled garden system a feasible way forward or even the beginnings of one?
    If not, what controlled, secured individualised 'view' (if any) of the internet would YOU support?
    Let's leave the issue of 'who' would create/enforce that 'personalised view' for now. Let's concentrate on the 'what' for now? 'What' would you include in an internet view/access for 5 to 12 years olds? or teenagers or '60+ years of age?'
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    No-one should be killing themselves as a direct result of their experiences on the internet.
    Is a personal walled garden system a feasible way forward or even the beginnings of one?
    If not, what controlled, secured individualised 'view' (if any) of the internet would YOU support?
    Let's leave the issue of 'who' would create/enforce that 'personalised view' for now. Let's concentrate on the 'what' for now? 'What' would you include in an internet view/access for 5 to 12 years olds? or teenagers or '60+ years of age?'
    universeness

    Agreed. No one should ever be a victim of a mass attack to the point of suicide. Its desperate and we as parents or future parents can only think "what if that was my son or daughter? ". That prospect of the Internet terrifies me.

    I will have to think for a bit on the questions you asked here. They're not easy ones. I'll get back to you shortly :)
  • universeness
    3.5k

    You mentioned 'bullying.' Anonymity is a big internet issue. Do you think you should be able to post anonymously? Should anonymity only be allowed when the possible response may be your own personal endangerment? But your full details are still held by the host site you are posting on?
    Is it the responsibility of moderators to identify genuine threat towards a member whose id details are available and should they carry the responsibility of warning the person making the threats. Should there be a firmly established 'tick box' style set of global netiquette rules that will cause a mod to report you to the police?
  • Vera Mont
    313
    Yes, the family unit has the right to ban some reading materials from their household.L'éléphant

    By 'the family unit', I imagine you mean some kind of collective decision-making mechanism. In real life, it's usually one person with all the power to decide what everyone less powerful is allowed to do, have, read and say. That person, patriarch or matriarch, usually also has the power to enforce their decision through punitive measures.
    However, that's parental control, not 'censorship', which is normally a function of the state and its designated agencies.

    If you or an organization starts censoring the family unit of that banning, then where does that leave all of us?L'éléphant

    The state already does that by limiting what's available and unavailable to the family. Banning material it doesn't approve of from libraries, schools and bookstores, so that the parental unit doesn't have any freedom of choice in what comes into his house. That is where a great many people in the world have been left.
    In a relatively free-speech country, the children of narrow-minded, oppressive parents may still learn about the world beyond those blinkers at school or in the public library. They have a hope of setting their minds free once they've flown the stifling nest. But not in a state ruled by the same kind of despotism that prevails in their childhood home. Nor, in such a state, do liberal parents have the freedom to help their curious children expand their horizons.

    It makes perfect sense to pick what students learn and the order they learn it in. Does a pedagogical system necessarily have to be framed as ‘just’ or ‘unjust’.I like sushi

    I didn't do that. I asked whether, in your [subjective] opinion, it's okay for anyone to tell everyone else what they may or may not read, look at and listen to. I've already expressed the opinion that teaching material for schools should be chosen by pedagogues and library stock chosen by librarians (rather then clerics and politicians) , that parents should be in control of what comes into their home and retailers in the choice of what they stock in their store.
    I'm not interested in this issue in a legalistic or judicial sense, but in a social context.
    What do you think is better for society: freedom or constraint of information?
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    You mentioned 'bullying.' Anonymity is a big internet issue. Do you think you should be able to post anonymously? Should anonymity only be allowed when the possible response may be your own personal endangerment?universeness

    Anonymity offers dissonance/uncoupling between the actions made (written/expressed etc) and the consequences applied.
    As with all things that can be good and/or bad.

    In anonymity one can call out, say, the abuse of their employer without having personal repercussions pressed on them.

    But in anonymity someone can also bully without reproach.

    Anonymity can be protective to a victim but can also be protective to the aggressor.

    The anonymity of two parties can only be preserved by full transparency to a third party which can gather the facts about the conflict and make a decision as to who is owed the apology. If one is owed at all.

    Hence why in school bullying a principle will tend to meet the two people individually, or in a court hearing depositions are made separate to one another. It allows a person to be more honest to an uninvolved/unbiased third party. Because their safety is not directly under threat when acting through a third.
  • universeness
    3.5k

    So based on your analysis of the pro's and con's involved with the use of anonymity, it seems to me that we need internet controls which are capable of catering benevolently to the current and prior status of each user. This was supposed to be the 'prime directive' in teaching. Your job was to progress each pupil/student based on their current and prior knowledge and skills. A lofty goal in my opinion but the correct one. I think we need to employ the internet in the same way. Remove all of it from private ownership, make it a completely free global resource.
    A global authority should administer it but not own it.
    Each country should 'pay'/'contribute' to develop and maintain it.
    Then we would be at the stage of deciding, how each nation will decide, how they want to use the internet? and I think that the people who live in that nation must initially decide via debate and perhaps even referenda?
    What do you think? How could we move forwards and make the internet become the fantastically positive tool it could be?
    It seems to me that our systems have to cater to the individual needs of each human on the planet.
    No 'one size fits all' system has ever worked or every human in its catchment area, in all of human history. Systems must be created which are capable of successfully catering to the need of each separate human that uses it. What do you think? Impossible to achieve?
  • Benj96
    1.3k
    What do you think? How could we move forwards and make the internet become the fantastically positive tool it could beuniverseness

    Well the issue is its already a fantastical positive tool for those that use it to its best. The issue is that all fantastical positive things have a downside.
    Antibiotics are fantastical positive rescuers of people from bacterial infections that previously killed us. The downside - antibiotic resistence and suoerbugs.

    Democracy - another fantastical positive tool when used correctly, downside is it can be navigated by misinforming voters with propaganda into a false sense of unbiased and objective decision when in fact not all options have been presented on the ballot. Tyrannies can only arise out of democracies. And democracies can only arise by revolt/overthrowing tyrannies.

    So long as there are selfish or evil agendas in the world they will try to manipulate good systems in their favour.

    It is the perogative of an ethical person to mitigate the downside as much as humanly possible. By being just as clever.

    As for the Internet, it will always have a sinister market. The issue is that regulation (mitigation of all the nasty going on) lags far behind the rat race for power. Because it can only legislate against new crimes/abuses. Not one's that don't yet exist.

    There is a leading edge to progress which is selfish in nature, finding loop holes. Those loops holes are only closed when identified, at which time they're up and running.
    So it seems the Internet reflects the global human conscience. The only way to tackle it on a personal level is to educate people better, ask them not to be well... D*cks. And then legislate when the inevitabkle happens - some of them being d*cks.

    (as you see I have up on the formal language we once argued about with some weeks ago) lol
  • T Clark
    10.3k
    What if "that stuff" that's being kept from them is about people who are unlike them in some way? (Yes, if Billy-Bob says he's really a girl, he's a girl. It's okay to stop feeling guilty because you were attracted to him. Yes, the people in China are also human beings, and they didn't invent the Covid virus. ) Or factual history? (No, the Civil War was not stolen, the Confederacy lost; General Lee did not ride proudly into the glorious sunset and Jim Crow was not a very good policy...)Vera Mont

    I wouldn't be unhappy as a parent if the elementary grades focused on basics without a lot of controversial issues being discussed. Younger children need to see the physical and human worlds as coherent and enduring and that adults have some sort of consensus understanding of how things work. Of course it's more complicated than that, but I don't see any harm in waiting till middle school to start getting into that.

    So, in history, tell the story, but include slavery and how the American Indians were treated. In science, tell the story, but for controversial issues like evolution or the age of the universe, tread lightly in elementary schools in areas where this will cause problems. In English class, don't teach "Huckleberry Finn." There are plenty of other good books until kids get older. In health, teach fundamentals of how bodies work including issues with sex at an age-appropriate level. Third graders don't need to know about issues of sexual politics and controversy.

    I went through the American public school system, including three years in high school in central Virginia near the North Carolina border. And look how well I turned out.
  • Ciceronianus
    2.5k
    How would they know they want to read something the don't even know exists?Vera Mont

    They'll know what their parents and the parents of others, and their teachers, think that they should or should not read quite readily. Banning or trying to ban books doesn't tale place in secrecy at that level. And media and social media will make such information readily available.

    As for my schooling, we read what was typically read in so-called "English" classes at that time--some Shakespeare, some Dickens, Catcher in the Rye (for some reason), some Jack London, some Conrad, even some Dostoyevski, some books I can't easily recall but the titles of which I'd no doubt recognize if confronted with them. But schoolwork is schoolwork; it's to be tolerated, it doesn't inspire. I did quite well, but learned to appreciate great works of prose and poetry not when in school, but out of it.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    I am pretty sure I answered well enough?

    Neither nor, rather than either or. It is a sweeping statement to side with one or the other and lacks any kind of nuance. In some circumstances freedom of information makes more sense than in others.

    I would say it is worse for everyone to insist on complete freedom or rigid constraints as a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to how information can be distributed and the kinds of arguments against exposing people to items others may deem inappropriate.
  • universeness
    3.5k
    (as you see I have up on the formal language we once argued about with some weeks ago) lolBenj96

    :lol: Yeah, nothing wrong with a little use of the words that are italicised(BS) and those that required a few *'s. The mods will tell you/me when we have used up our ration for the thread.

    I have always typed about the perfect system being unattainable but that we should still strive towards it.
    I remain interested in actual suggestions people have on how people on the internet could be better protected and how such protections could be enacted without too undue impact on personal freedom of speech or expression.
  • Vera Mont
    313
    I wouldn't be unhappy as a parent if the elementary grades focused on basics without a lot of controversial issues being discussed. Younger children need to see the physical and human worlds as coherent and enduring and that adults have some sort of consensus understanding of how things work. Of course it's more complicated than that, but I don't see any harm in waiting till middle school to start getting into that.T Clark

    Does that mean the state/church should dictate what children under - what age? 12, 13, 14? - cannot know about? What happens when they catch their first glimpse of the evening news?

    In some circumstances freedom of information makes more sense than in others.I like sushi

    Who should be in charge of deciding?

    I'm in favour of the UN setting up an international monitoring committee for the internet, assuming no major powers have a veto... and I know that it's about as realistic an expectation as that commercial owners of communications media will fact-check every item they print or broadcast or that politicians dependent on the support of special interests and religious sects would make informed, unbiased choices of topics to promote or suppress in public education.
  • T Clark
    10.3k
    Does that mean the state/church should dictate what children under - what age? 12, 13, 14? - cannot know about?Vera Mont

    What they can know about and what they should learn in school are not the same thing. In school, especially elementary school, it makes sense to me that the focus should be on commonalities in understanding and values among the citizens of the country.
  • jgill
    2.6k
    Are books still considered accurate sources of knowledge? Wikipedia seems to think so. And I find this amusing having been involved with numerous new books on a particular subject (not math) and having seen multiple mistakes that were not caught and removed by editors and reviewers. Just because something appears in a book is no guarantee it is trustable. But I suppose the search for accuracy has to end somewhere.

    Does anyone buy hard cover encyclopedias? Do they still exist? Is Encyclopaedia Britannica more accurate than Wikipedia? It doesn't seem so.

    Is any of this thread relevant to teenagers on social media or playing video games? Telling them not to read a book is whistling in the wind.
  • I like sushi
    4k
    Who? Same answer. It depends. One-size-fits-all is a myopic approach.

    Such IF questioning can be useful though. I personally would look to forming several bodies to assess information, if needed, for more specific situations. The UN could certainly be one that could provide some expertise as it had a history of trying to manage complex cultural and political interactions.
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