Sunday, December 10, 2006

Children See Graphic Violence and More on YouTube.com

YouTube.com is a great source of information, as well as a way for people to express themselves to the world. There seems to be no limit to what you can find one this site, ranging from the bizzare, to sex, to graphic violence. The site uses a form of viewer self censorship, where if you think a video is in violation of the terms of service, you report it, selecting from a short list of reasons the video is being flagged. After that, the video is reviewed by YouTube.com, and the video is hidden from common view. You must then hit a "confirm" button in order to view it. The site does not seem to allow children to set up an account, but the videos that have not yet been "flagged" as inappropriate are still easily viewed by anyone without an account. The title of the article has a link to one such video that illustrated my point as of Sunday, December 10, 2006 when I came across this.

YouTube.com's position on this is clearly stated in it's posted regulations. Whatever is posted is the responsibility of the poster, and they wish to distance themselves of any liability. With the growing availability of video recordings, and children's inherent desire to mimmick what they see others do, wouldn't the public be better served if YouTube.com made it's site less available? NetNanny.com has been keeping children safe for years, and is simple to set up. Knowing what your children are watching on the internet is a main responsibily of the modern parent. There are many things out there that can confuse and subvert the values you are trying to instill in your children.

The answer to the YouTube.com problem is two fold; ask sites like this to police themsleves better, and keep an eye on what your children see by being more involved. In the end we will only have ourselves to blame if someone were to get hurt because of children watching and immitating the violence they see. Surf this site yourself for a few moments and the problem becomes clear. If you are not impressed by what you find on your own, try using a search word like, "gang" and see what videos pop up. Once the shock of knowing gang members are talking directly to our children starts to subside, look down in the bottom lefthand corner of the screen just under "ratings" and you can see that most of these videos have been viewed tens of thousands of times. I am not one for censorship, but we have an obligation to protect our children while their minds are still forming.

18 comments:

John said...

I think most teenagers know how to circumvent NetNanny. This site is dedicated to the fine art of disabling parental controls.

http://www.peacefire.org/

I have personally experimented with NetNanny, SurfControl and AOL's parental controls. I found them all fairly simple to beat.

I'll bet you a dime bag that most highschoolers are smarter than I am in this matter.

John Hosty said...

LOL, a dime bag huh?

You are right about this John. It is very hard to control what your kids are watching while we are not around to supervise, but we do have to try. No one knew that lyrics could be so hate filled until parents got involved, and started the rating system. This doesn't make better parents, but it makes it easier for the ones that want to try.

Once children are adults we can stop worrying about how to raise them, but until that time comes we need to be aware of what they are exposed to, and take appropriate measures. What Would John Do? :)

John said...

For me, it's not that difficult. I talk to me kids all the time. I know the sites they visit because I go along with them. We talk about what's out there, how it makes us feel, etc.

You are right, of course that it is very hard to control what your kids are watching while we are not around to supervise, but the answer is to surpervise when we can and instill values that don't disappear when we leave the room.

Ryan Adams said...

I don't think there's much of a reason to censor just about anything from the typical high school student. Violence, language, whatever? These people are supposed to be adults in a few years - how can we, as a society, expect that to happen if we become a bunch of Tipper Gores.

Seeing as how I'm only 22 and can actually remember what I was like at 16, I see no reason why I shouldn't see the things I do now when I was 16. In fact, in large part, the things I see now were the things I saw then =p The only difference is now the internet is much faster and there are things like Youtube, Myspace, Facebook and BLOGS(!!) lol.

John said...

"Seeing as how I'm only 22 and can actually remember what I was like at 16"

LOL. I am WAY older than that and I still remember (fondly) what I did and saw at 16.

You bring up an extememely important point in that highschoolers are practically adults. It is not what they see that gets them in trouble. The real challenge for the parent is to help kids learn how to use discretion and judgement at a time in their lives when they lack the full capacity to use such discretion and judgement.

John Hosty said...

Maybe I am being too much like my parents, but when certain kids get a hold of this type of media, it causes them to want to mimmick it. We have already seen many videos even locally where kids settle the score in front of other kids, and put it on video to show off. Not all kids drop out of the womb quoting Shakespeare like you Ryan, lol!

Call me old fashioned, but I wish a stronger type of screening were in place to protect younger viewers. I agree that high school kids are getting ready for the real world, but 10 year olds are seeing this stuff too. Is everybody OK with that, and it is just me that is concerned? Maybe I have to re-evaluate my position.

John said...

Shakspeare is where all this crap started. It is the Bard himself who started the trend of profanity in the media.

In Romeo and Juliet there is a scene where Juliet comes out on a balcony looking dazed and confused, Finally she shouts out, "Romeo!, Romeo! Where the fuck art thou Romeo"

Ryan Adams said...

I still think this society is way too puritanical. If you go to Australia, there's nudity on the TV. In other countries, there's all sorts of violence going on.

I think we have this warped vision of the past, as if some of the things that happen today didn't happen then. There was even gang violence way back in the 50s and 60s, including violence that resulted in people's deaths.

Is there more violence now? I don't know. But if there is, it has little to nothing to do with the fact that younger people play video games, listen to vulgar music and know what sex is and looks like.... things like drugs, things like increasing stress on parents due to the fact that it takes about 2 salaries today to equal what 1 did 30-40 years ago are much more to blame. Things like allowing the sale of handguns and other dangerous weapons are much more to blame (compare about 20,000 hand-gun related deaths in the US per year to England's 100 or so).

It's not violent video games, loud music and sex on tv (or the internet)... if anything, those are just a byproduct of what the real problems are.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought: how about parents don't allow their kids to access stuff they aren't supposed to be accessing. This is EASILY done by manually changing settings on your computer, or simply only allowing the child to use the internet (or whatever the case may be) when a parent is readily available to supervise

I'm tired of people using the "well children may see it" excuse to censor almost EVERYTHING, especially on the internet.

John said...

"There was even gang violence way back in the 50s and 60s"

It goes way back before the 50's. My granfather was the leader of a Lafayette Street gang in the 20's.

John Hosty said...

Terry,

I think you make a great point about holding parents accountable for raising their children properly. Wouldn't it be great if we could expect all parents to police their children properly enough that we did not have to worry about such things? The truth is that since the invention of the TV we have let our kids be exposed to a greater amount of violence each year. It is no big surprise to me that we now have situations like Columbime Colorado springing up all over the country. If you watched the documentary "Bowling for Columbine" it strongly suggests with evidence that what we watch on TV is responsible for the great difference in shooting deaths between the US and Canada. I can't imagine that the internet is any different.

In this situation with YouTube getting millions of hits a day, I think it is easier to ask YouTube to be a little more responsible, rather than launch a campaign to inform and convince parents all across America to do the right thing. It takes no liberty away from adults to put a filter in place, and our society has many of them that protect children already. Kids can't drink, or smoke, or go to R rated movies. They can't buy pornography, and they are protected by law from the lecherous few who might take advatage of their innocence.

What YouTube is doing in my eyes equates to putting objective material in plain sight, available to children everywhere. There was a case in which a man had thrown away porn in his garbage can, but did not cover it. Children from a local school got a hold of it, and the parents asked the man to be more carefull. He refused, and since he knew that children were viewing things that are clearly objectionable, he was prosecuted.

I find violence to be as objectionable as pornography when in the hands of an impressionable child. The desire to immitate what you see is strong in kids, but most do grow out of it. Until then we should be mindfull of what they see. It takes a community to raise a child, not just their own parents. I welcome your rebuttal.

John said...

I disagree that the material per se is the problem. Especially pornography. I think the real issue is that the United States is a violent culture, and the violence you see is a reflection not a cause of our culture.

Read this and tell me what you think.


http://www.alternet.org/story/15665

Anonymous said...

Right. Destroy the 1st ammendment because some parents suck. You sure this blog belongs on leftyblogs?

John said...

Terry,

Maybe you're seeing something that I am not. What Mr. Hosty is proposing is that services like youtube do a better job in empowering parents to excerise more control. He is not advocating government censorship.

John Hosty said...

Terry,

I think that your response to my explanation of why I wrote this article leaves a lot to be desired. Purhaps it shows your age, or the difference between our ages. I took the liberty of reading your blog, and it seems you post some great things that have been written by others, but even you have posts that do not pertain to liberalism, like wishing your friends well on the birth of their baby girl. If you read leftyblogs' disclaimer is says that MOST of your posts should be about politics and from the liberal point of view, not all. I reserve the right to post what I wish on this site, and if you don't like it, with all due respect, don't read it.

Now that the mutual unpleasantries have been exchanged, if you wish to continue an actual debate I am all ears.

John Hosty said...

John,

I went and read what you asked me to, and there are some great point there. The lacking point of what I read, and maybe I missed it, was the increase in violence in America. To my understanding there is a measurable increase, and if we can identify the cause for this increase we may be able to curtail it. Please read this link and tell me your thoughts:

http://www.parentstv.org/PTC/publications/reports/stateindustryviolence/main.asp

John said...

I will read it now. In the meantime, read your mail.

John said...

According to:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

violent crime is down significantly since its peak in 1990.

So, statistics show that overall, violent crime in the US increased dramatically between 1970 and 1990 and then started to drop. At the same time, as your link from the PTC points out media violence has risen.

The bottom line, I think is that the rate of violent crime is directly proportional to the number of men between the ages of 18 and 28.

Young men commit more crimes.