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  1. #1
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    Default Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Wisconsin

    Hi, I am new to the forum.

    I was wondering your thoughts about Jacobellis v. Ohio, a case concerning constitutional standards for censorship activities involving children. The case concluded "laws aimed specifically at preventing distribution of objectionable children might be acceptable."

    Related to this, do you think it should be permissible to restrict certain ads on television channels aimed at children?

    Is this censorship?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    I agree with preventing the distribution of objectionable children.

    (Corrollary: Non-objectionable children are so much easier to distribute?)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    Here's the case.

    This is for a class, right? How about sharing your thoughts with us?

  4. #4

    Default Re: Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    We won't do homework for you. If you want to put in your own thoughts, we'll be happy to comment upon them.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    My thoughts:

    Currently the FTC has advised the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) to self-regulate its promotion of films. This led to the ratings system (i.e. Movies are rated as R, PG-13, etc.) However, under this system of self-regulation, PG-13 movies are still being promoted to children. (Ex. commercials on television channels like Nickelodeon, happy meals from McDonalds).

    I think the FTC has the right to advice the MPAA to self-regulate. However, when the system of self-regulation does not work, can the FTC be more forceful in its recommendations, or is this censorship?

    I think this situation is tricky because the material presented by commercials is not obscene. Yet, commercials are promoting films that have been determined to be "too mature" for the audience at which they are targeted.

    I'm not sure if the FTC can regulate this behavior, as its regulation could be determined as unlawful (violating freedoms of expression). At the same time, it does not seem as if leaving film promotion to the sound/ethical judgment of marketers/the media has been effective.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    Quote Quoting uwstudent
    View Post
    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Wisconsin

    Hi, I am new to the forum.

    I was wondering your thoughts about Jacobellis v. Ohio, a case concerning constitutional standards for censorship activities involving children. The case concluded "laws aimed specifically at preventing distribution of objectionable children might be acceptable."

    Related to this, do you think it should be permissible to restrict certain ads on television channels aimed at children?

    Is this censorship?
    Cigarette adds have not been permitted on TV since the 1960's. If you want to split the audience, adult/child, take your pick. There is a "compelling government interest" in such.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    Quote Quoting uwstudent
    View Post
    My thoughts:
    Some good points. Here are a few areas where you might drill down and focus on:

    Currently the FTC has advised the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) to self-regulate its promotion of films. This led to the ratings system (i.e. Movies are rated as R, PG-13, etc.) However, under this system of self-regulation, PG-13 movies are still being promoted to children. (Ex. commercials on television channels like Nickelodeon, happy meals from McDonalds).
    "Children" is a broad term. A 6 year old and a 16 year old are both "children". The ratings system puts in at least one clear delineator, that of age 13 for the PG-13 rating. With that in mind, what is the delineated target audience age for Nickelodeon? For McDonald's happy meals? Have those target audiences changed over time? Was the average age for Nickelodeon viewers 14 years of age 10 years ago, but perhaps now has dropped to 8 years of age? If so, then is the advertisement of "too mature" films a failure on the part of the advertiser to obtain pertinent demographic data from Nickelodeon? Are they just lazy and continuing to advertise where they always have without taking these changes into account, or has the average age remained static or gone the other way thus resulting in the films consciously and purposefully being marketed to this intended audience? And, for Nickelodeon in particular, TIMES of advertisements is a key factor. As a 40 year old, I watch Nick at Nite quite often, and certainly wouldn't want my young children to watch some of that programming. So there are multiple approaches to this one (ie the demographics of the viewer will ALSO be different at different times of the viewing day).

    I think the FTC has the right to advice the MPAA to self-regulate. However, when the system of self-regulation does not work, can the FTC be more forceful in its recommendations, or is this censorship?
    Key in on what defines it "working". Who says it's not working? Upon what empirical evidence do they make this claim? What measure is being used to determine if it's working or not, and who came up with the measure?

    Keep in mind that regardless of what audience is being advertised to, when dealing with minors attending movies (particularly the PG-13 issue), that ultimately it doesn't matter what a child WANTS to see, it matters what a parent will ENABLE them to see. Nickelodeon could advertise R movies to 8 year olds, but most 8 year olds won't be heading downtown to their local theatre and whipping out their ATM cards for tickets. Exercises in consumerism for minors is often unique in that the decision to ACT on advertising doesn't rest in the hands of the viewer (at least for a large part of the intended audience), but in the hands of their parents.

    I think this situation is tricky because the material presented by commercials is not obscene. Yet, commercials are promoting films that have been determined to be "too mature" for the audience at which they are targeted.
    Similar key in: who has determined it to be "too mature", what is their authority to do so, what measures are they using, and what empirical evidence do they have to make such a claim?

    At the same time, it does not seem as if leaving film promotion to the sound/ethical judgment of marketers/the media has been effective.
    Probably because like so many things in society, it's easier to have someone else to blame it on when we want to tell our kids "no"; or even have someone ELSE tell them "no", but at the end of the day, there is no amount of legislation that is going to substitute for knowledgeable, consistent, and watchful parenting. Expecting the MPAA or anyone else for that matter to make DECISIONS, and not just helpful recommendations, simply can't take the place of vigilent parenting (in light of the consideration that such rating systems were argueably put in place due to serious LACK of parental oversight to begin with).

    Hopefully that'll give you some directions in which to elaborate =)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Censorship, Legality of Restricting Ads Aimed at Children

    Thank you for your input.

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