Television Censorship Essay

Television has been around from the beginning of time and has been a great impact on households in America. Censorship is defined as the editing of material from a written or visual performance. There are a number of issues that are taboo and have been censored from television performances for years. The censorship of television began in the late 1960’s. Censorship has truly evolved and become more lenient and open on a broader range than when it first began in the the 1960’s.

Being that television censorship has a more open range and not as restrictive as it use to be, not only does it affect our nation as a whole and it’s development, we have to think of the effects that it embellishes on the mind development of our youth. A couple of the issues that have been void from American television for decades are as follows: Sex: This is one of the hottest topics to be censored and it’s definitely for good reason, nudity isn’t for main stream television. Sexuality: This is a very controversial issue and is slowly become more accepting to main stream television and is getting a little more publicity.

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Examples include – The Jerry Springer Show, The Real World and Cheaters. Profanity: This subject has been censored from the beginning but is gradually getting more airplay on television now a days. You can commonly hear “ass” or “damn” on many mini series these days and times. Below, I have included a timeline to show how television censorship has evolved throughout the years. •1947 Mary Kay and Johnny is TV’s first series to show a married couple who shared a bed. Subsequent sitcoms including I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Donna Reed would show married couples in separate beds. 1948 TV’s earliest primetime delivery was on the sitcom Mary Kay and Johnny that starred Mary Kay Stearns and Johnny Stearns who played themselves on the series. In December, 1948 Mary Kay gave birth in reallife to a baby boy named Christopher. Within a month of his birth, the baby was written into the script. •1952: Lucille Ball’s pregnancy causes problems for TV censors because the word “pregnancy” is not allowed. Characters instead make references to Lucy’s “expecting. ” •Feb 10, 1960: NBC censors won’t allow Tonight Show host Jack Paar to tell a joke about a “water closet. •1971 1983: All in the Family’s Archie Bunker shocks viewers with his use of racial slurs. For the first time ever, network audiences hear a toilet flush. •1972 TV addresses the topic of abortion on Norman Lear’s series Maude. A two part episode entitled “Maude’s Dilemma” depicted a 45 year old woman named Maude Findlay (Beatrice Arthur) finding herself pregnant and opting for an abortion. •1973 First Full Female Nudity on Network TV. A broadcast on PBS of the play Steam bath featured actress Valerie Perrine completely naked. 1975 First Uncensored Comedy Special HBO features Robert Klein exclaiming, “It’s subscription…we can say anything. Sh*t! How’d you like that? Sh*t! ” •1976 First Nipple on Network TV on NBC miniseries Captains and the Kings. •1977 TV’s first openly gay series regular, Billy Crystal as Jody on Soap. •1981 Saturday Night Live’s “Weekend Update” anchor Charles Rocket lets a profanity slip and is fired •1986 First Time the Word “Condom” Used in Prime Time on Cagney & Lacey. •1991: The first lesbian kiss on network television occurred on the 2/7/91 episode of L. A. Law which featured a prolonged kiss between two female lawyers.

As you can see from the above timeline, with time has come change with television censorship. The reigns on censorship are becoming more loose as time goes on. This indicates that we have to pay closer attention to what the media is portraying to our youth and not count on television to do the censoring, we as parents have to step in and monitor what our children are viewing. With a number of these issues being more in the spotlight for public exposure it seems as if no one is considering our youth in the equation. Children 3 and over make up a huge majority of the television viewers.

How do children learn? Through watching and listening to people or things in their surroundings, thus, if they see violence on television that’s what they will mimic and try to reenact in the real world. Children are very impressionable creatures. What is learned in the early years of life is very important and molds a child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that kids under 2 years old not watch any TV and that those older than 2 watch no more than 1 to 2 hours a day of quality programming. The first 2 years of life are considered a critical time for brain development.

TV and other electronic media can get in the way of exploring, playing, and interacting with parents and others, which encourages learning and healthy physical and social development. As kids get older, too much screen time can interfere with activities such as being physically active, reading, doing homework, playing with friends, and spending time with family. (2010, Nemours Foundation) We are all waiting to find out what the next “wow” factor of television censorship will bring. In the mean time parents should take the time and get involved with their children and limit their television interaction to expand their mental state.

Who know how out of control the censorship on television will get, that is why parent’s should take their time to do their own monitoring of what they are exposing their children to on television. Exposure to taboo and controversial issues are prevailing in television and we need to stay alert and aware for our children’s sake. References (2010). How TV affects your child. The Nemours Foundation. Retrieved from http://kidshealth. org/parent/positive/family/tv_affects_child. html (2010). TV Timeline. Parents television council. Retrieved from http://www. parentstv. org/ptc/facts/tvtimeline. asp

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