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Stinley's avatar

Do you censor books or put them out of reach of children?

Asked by Stinley (11505points) February 19th, 2016 from iPhone

I have lots of paper books. Some contain stories about violent or sexual acts. I don’t worry that my children will pick them off the shelves, read them and be defiled in some way. Recently I was giving them both access to my books on my kindle since I buy ebooks for them. I was thinking that some of my books wouldn’t be age appropriate. It seems very difficult to not have the books appear on their devices. I have decided that they will be fine reading what ever they like. Do you control which of your books children have access to?

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25 Answers

Jeruba's avatar

I followed my parents’ example. Anyone was free to read any book in the house; but my mother guided my choices a little bit with such comments as “You might be ready for this” and “If you liked x, I think you’ll like y.” Also, to discourage certain reading: “That’s a little too old for you” and “You’ll enjoy that more when you’re a bit older.” I never thought she was concealing anything (though of course she could have been). Her advice on reading was usually right.

My husband and I have always had plenty of books around—thousands, actually—and my children might have found things that were “too old” for them; but I noticed that when they tackled something too mature for them, they didn’t seem very interested. When they could handle it and discuss it (which they did), I figured they were ready.

We also read aloud to them well past the time when they could do their own reading. I still love to be read to.

E-readers, of course, were not in the picture.

You don’t mention the ages of your children. That seems like a relevant point.

NerdyKeith's avatar

Well I don’t intend to have children, so this is not really something that I would need to worry about.

But I suppose its like any other format of entertainment, there are certain things that are not suitable for younger ages. If you can afford it, I’d recommend they have their own kindles and purchase the content for them, when they want it.

I think its only a matter of time before Amazon but a child protection feature into their kindle apps. Perhaps you should submit this as a requested feature to them. They are usually very willing to take any feedback their customers offer them.

zenvelo's avatar

I have hundreds of books also, and in general have always let the kids open up whatever strikes their fancy.

I’ve got three books put away in a private place for me only. They are explicit and mine and I don’t want to share them with anyone.

ibstubro's avatar

What are the ages of your kids, @Stinley?

No kids, here, so…
When I was a kid we didn’t keep that many books in the house. Instead we made frequent trips to the local public library.
I was free to read anything the local, small-town, Midwestern, redneck library offered.
Some of the biology books were pretty racy!
When I got to Middle School I joined a book club and handled my account as I wanted – as far as I knew!

I currently have some books and movies that are pretty risque, and I leave them about. Kids and old people in the house have to fend for themselves. lol

Here2_4's avatar

My kids were all advanced readers. Being capable of reading certain words does not mean they are psychologically prepared to handle what some of those words or sentences mean. I recall reading one of my mother’s books on the sly, a very popular read at the time. I was so upset by the content, I buried it in the woods.
My kids have always respected my advice about what they may find interesting, and leaving alone those I stipulate may confuse or offend them.
Even as adults recommending books to other adults, I believe there are some we would recommend to one person, but not another.

Seek's avatar

I have at least a couple thousand books, and none of them are intentionally set out of reach.

Ian, now seven years old, is free to read anything he likes. He’s working on Harry Potter now. He does some of his math lessons on Khan Academy, and occasionally will find himself distracted by the science and history lessons which are directed at much older students. That’s fine, too.

While some of the science fiction and fantasy novels I have contain adult scenes (Gor, anyone?), he hasn’t yet showed an interest in them, so there’s been no real need to consider how to field any possible questions.

Seek's avatar

@NerdyKeith – the Kindle Fire has a kids-only partition you can set up, where you can allow only those things you choose to appear.

I don’t use it because I’m lazy.

NerdyKeith's avatar

@Seek, ah I see. I was not aware. I don’t use the Kindle Fire myself. I just use the Kindle app that’s available on the iPad.

filmfann's avatar

When my children were home, I had only a few magazines away from little hands. I did, however, leave educational medical books in plain view, should they have questions.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

No, we don’t censor books or most other forms of entertainment. Our children read what interests them. Our oldest was reading Harry Potter in kindergarten.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, I have never been drawn to books with wild sex scenes or anything like that. There is no book that I have that is off limits, but I am circumspect about what I have around. I know they’ll read every book in the house, just like I did as a kid, and I want them to feel free to do so. I also want them to learn from whatever book they read.

I loved that a large book called “The ABCs of the Human Body” got so much attention during their early teens! It was all dog eared and well worn by the time the last kid moved out. It was the only book they put carefully back, I guess so that I wouldn’t know what they were doing. smh.

Cruiser's avatar

I would say it would depend on how voracious of a reader your kids are. Are they just grabbing anything within their reach to read?? Then I would box up the racy stuff just to be safe. For me and my kids it was the internet that was the real minefield.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I am SO glad I didn’t have that, or cell phones, in that already volatile mix.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

There are hundreds of books in my house too, and for the most part, I’ve not put any reading material out of reach of my children. My children are now all adults, but they always had lots of books of their own and as others have said, I would say ‘this is a great book’ to guide their reading.

Since I have books about forensic science and police procedure, that include some graphic photos, I did put them out-of-reach. I didn’t want them seeing disturbing photos at a young age. Similarly, I remember getting annoyed with one of my ex-husband’s girlfriends for giving my very young daughters women’s magazines that included fairly detailed adult articles about sex. I believe in open communication, but I think information should be age-appropriate.

As to Kindles, we all have our own Kindles. They are all registered to my account so we can share all my books. I think I can change the settings to determine which books are delivered where (or not). I think I can. I’ll look later and report back. I’m sharing with adults so my kids and husband, along with lots of fiction, get access to a lot of political, media and communication texts that they will never read in a million years.

Stinley's avatar

My girls are 14 and 9. Both are great readers but don’t seem to be interested in books not for their age group. I am doing what others mentioned and suggesting and guiding their choices

imrainmaker's avatar

I think it is internet more than books needs to be censored. Parents should make sure they are not in touch with wrong people through social networking sites.

Stinley's avatar

@imrainmaker I have had several chats with the older daughter about Internet safety. She’s a sensible soul – much more of a goody two shoes than I ever was as a teenager – and we are on very good terms. But it is a worry for me for both of them. Books are somehow safer, even when they have quite adult themes, I think.

Stinley's avatar

@Seek I have tried to set that partition thingy up but seem to have failed. My younger daughter has now set up a folder on her kindle and put her books in it. Self censorship!

imrainmaker's avatar

@Stinley – good to hear that you dont have to worry much about that aspect.. :) i agree books too can have such content but it can be controlled easily by parents if needed..but in case of internent it can be tricky sometimes.

Tea_Gryphon's avatar

I haven’t put any books out of reach of my 8 year old. He likes to read but he usually grabs stuff that seems to interest him and it’s usually age appropriate. Some of the books that I read have some content that wouldn’t necessarily be suitable for his age, but I don’t hide them. (None are trashy romances though.. if I DID ever read stuff like that I would probably put those up.)

If he seems interested in more of my books as he gets older I’ll kind of give him a synopsis and see if it’s still something he would like to pursue further. If so, I’ll let him read them. I don’t keep anything overly sexual or crazy violent anyhow besides books like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo series.. but knowing him he will have zero interest in reading those books for a very long time still if at all.

longgone's avatar

I did, in one single case.

My sister (then eleven) got three books as a gift. All part of the same series, and all part of the incredibly prevalent genre, “depressing novels for teens”.

I have no idea why so many authors insist on creating suicidal protagonists who will cut themselves daily, are anorexic, and spend 300 pages describing their abusive parents, taunting “friends”, and the awesomeness of cutting/heroin/alcohol – only to then kill themselves.

My sister read the first book, and was fairly traumatized. In consequence, I read the book – and was almost as traumatized.

I then went out and dumped all three books. They were brand-new, and I don’t usually throw away books – but these were different. They were evil.

Other than that, no. Making content “illegal” just makes it all the more attractive. Instead, I do what my mum did: I give recommendations, and honest evaluations on why certain books may be “too much”. So far, whenever I’ve offered a book or movie to a child while explaining its scary or bewildering nature, they declined.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Gawd. My Dad’s wife once sent my 12 year old daughter a book about a high school girl who was having sex with all the guys in school and half the teachers, was full of detail and a plethora of Fbombs.. I had no idea what it was about when she sent it, but I previewed it….and I was floored.
I called her out on it. She told me I was stupid and over protective because that’s really how the world is for kids to day.
Of course, she had no children and no brains.

ibstubro's avatar

I think you’d play heck trying to censor the books your children are exposed to these days.

I recently bought a book at The Dollar Tree for (naturally) $1 only to find that it had fairly graphic depictions of oral and vaginal sex, gay and straight. I mean, I don’t read romance, so I guess it was fairly graphic.

History of a Pleasure Seeker

longgone's avatar

@Dutchess_III It astounds me when people fail to see the power books have. They can certainly influence one’s attitude toward life, at the very least temporarily.

My sister, by the way, was extremely grateful to hear I took care of those books and ensured they would not negatively influence anyone else. Children, when they’re trusted, are usually very good at controlling their intake of potentially harmful influences.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It astounds me too. It also astounds me that someone with absolutely NO experience with children, especially teenagers, could so smugly tell a parent what the world is really like for their teen.

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