Why We Shouldn't Ban Books:
The Effects of Censorship on Children and Young Adults
By: Devon Yanvary
In an ever-growing culture where knowledge is everywhere, the topic of censorship may seem irrelevant and outdated. However, censorship is not strictly an action or a practice. Rather, it is more a code of conduct, a belief held (most times) by those in power. Though censorship began with the banning of books, the issue has changed as society and technology have and so the topic is still just as relevant as ever. Censorship now occurs in new forms and through new means, while still influencing the mediums of past centuries; censorship is an ever-evolving problem. It doesn’t just affect literary pieces (fiction or otherwise), but all of the avenues we receive information from. With so many ways to obtain knowledge in this digital age, there are just as many ways to censor and restrict access to that knowledge, creating a hierarchical society where knowledge is power. Where there is censorship, there always seems to be a power struggle close behind—whether it be between religion and followers, government and citizens, or individual and society, the struggle has always existed and continues to grow.
What makes censorship such a dangerous and complex idea is that many people see it in only a single context: the banning of fictional literature. However, censorship is much more than that. At the very root, censorship is not simply about the disrupted distribution of a written piece. Rather, it is about the contents of the piece: censorship aims to restrict the circulation of ideas (Mullally, 2002). And when one idea falls prey to censorship, all ideas are at risk of following suit. The danger now lies in the fact that this can occur in any context: literary books, history textbooks, news articles (and similar media outlets), and more recently, the internet and e-books.
However, it is the ideas and messages in books that make them so incredibly valuable to us as a society. I believe it is not only wrong (based on our First Amendment right) to censor sensitive or possibly controversial information, but measurably damaging to the psychological, emotional and social development of children and adolescents. This website aims to prove that excessive censorship is detrimental in a multitude of ways.