Teaching Teens To Not Be Offended

Is censoring healthy for teens or not?

It seems to be a growing issue in the media today: being politically correct. It’s something that gets a lot of politicians and leaders into trouble based on what they say. Yet this columnist, Ryan Holiday, says that it may be important to “stop trying to protect everyone’s feelings,” especially when it comes to young people.

As parents, we often try to at least have a say in what our kids are exposed to. It’s the reason we usually prevent them from watching R-rated movies when they are young or prevent them from accessing media with adult material such as books, TV shows, and more. We worry that exposing our children to these ideas in media can affect their thinking and values as they grow up and become molded by the world around them. But let’s be clear, this article is in no way meant to deter parents from being active in their child’s media consumption. Being an involved parent is essential in today’s world, as a lot of content is inappropriate and requires more mature minds for consumption. Instead, the idea of this column is teach our young people how to consume media that approach tough topics and not be offended by it.

Jerry Seinfeld discusses how young people are too politically correct


A mom in Tennessee recently complained about her 10th grade son reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, claiming the gynecological information in it was too pornographic for him. While the book does include information about cervical cancer, it more importantly addresses racial politics in medicine at the time of the story, a nonfiction experience by the author. These complaints may be legitimate, but censoring our teens from the book entirely also means that they lose the perspective and lessons contained throughout it.

In other cases, a Rutgers student has proposed putting trigger warnings on The Great Gatsby, Robin Thicke’s song “Blurred Lines” was banned on many college campuses for “promoting rape,” and last year, Wellesley students created a petition to remove an art project on campus featuring a lifelike statue of a sleepwalking man in his underwear because it caused “undue stress.”

Again, these complaints are all legitimate and not to be underestimated. “Blurred Lines” is a suggestible song, The Great Gatsby has questionable moments, and the statue on campus may cause some students “undue stress”. But the outcome may not be what we are seeking for our teens. By sheltering them from these stories and forms of art, not only do we prevent them from experiencing the “offensive” parts but also the underlying themes, the lessons, the moral of the story. We also teach our teens how to be offended by almost anything.



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