Not in Front of the Children by Marjorie Heins
"Indecency", Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth

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Synopsis

The first comprehensive history of our battles over children and censorship.

From Huckleberry Finn to Harry Potter, Internet filters to the V-chip, censorship exercised on behalf of children and adolescents is often based on the assumption that they must be protected from "indecent" information that might harm their development -- whether in art, in literature, or on a Web site. But where does this assumption come from, and is it true?

In Not in Front of the Children, Marjorie Heins explores the fascinating history of "indecency" laws and other restrictions aimed at protecting youth. From Plato's argument for rigid censorship, through Victorian laws aimed at repressing libidinous thoughts, to contemporary battles over sex education in public schools and violence in the media, Heins guides us through what became, and remains, an ideological minefield. With fascinating examples drawn from around the globe, she suggests that the "harm-to-minors" argument rests on shaky foundations.

There is an urgent need for informed, dispassionate debate about the perceived conflict between the free-expression rights of young people and the widespread urge to shield, protect, or censor them. Not in Front of the Children will spur this long-needed conversation.

 

About Marjorie Heins

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Marjorie Heins, Director of the Free Expression Policy Project, National Coalition Against Censorship, is the author, most recently, of "Sex, Sin, & Blasphemy: A Guide to America's Censorship Wars". She lives in New York City.
 
Published May 1, 2001 by Hill & Wang. 402 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Children's Books, Law & Philosophy, Humor & Entertainment. Non-fiction

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Heins argues that there are no conclusive studies proving that access to sexual and violent material is harmful, but she fails to address the understandable concerns of contemporary parents who must raise children in a world where graphic sexual and violent images are readily accessible.

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Heins (Sex, Sin and Blasphemy: A Guide to America's Censorship Wars) argues potently that the age-old idea of protecting children from "corrupting" influences—which can be traced at least as far back as Plato's Republic— has reached dangerous proportions in the U.S. Constructing a history of ch...

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