Although my father is quite lenient with technology in the house, the one rule he enforces time and time again is not having headphones in when I’m outside of my room. Since the rise of digital technologies people have desperately tried to control it and everyone’s usage of it more often than not due to a general fear or misunderstanding of technology.
I Can’t Hear You, I’m Isolating Myself
As Sturken and Thomas identify, new technology is a primary platform for unloading our deepest social fears and and exploring potential for the future. A common example of this is of parents regulating the media their children consume in the fear that it will corrupt them morally or harm them in one way or another. In the case of my household, the rule of not wearing headphones outside of private time is intended to ensure a classic ‘family’ mentality. Even if we’re not currently having a discussion, my dad will make sure I’m not wearing headphones because he believes it isolates myself from everyone around me. This rule only applies within my home although there is public concern for the safety of people who cross roads with headphones on. These are separate example where media regulation is a necessity and when it’s the exercising of social fears.
Earlier this year my 14 year old sister came home from school asking me what Game of Thrones is because everyone in her class is raving about it and it sounds cool. I was astounded, usually I’m easy going with letting my sister watch what she wants but 14 year olds watching and loving Game of Thrones was a little much for me (To clarify, this is the only thing I actively forbid her from watching till she’s older that she wants to watch, I’m not mean I just don’t think my sister is responsible enough to comprehend the adult themes of the show). Censorship towards younger audiences is an example of the social fear of media morally corrupting youth.
Full Force Enforcement
In the case between me and my sister where I don’t allow her to watch Game of Thrones, it’s only really enforce by me asking her not to and having to trust that she respects my wishes but on a larger scale there are bureaus in charge of regulating what we see on tv and radio that categorize shows, songs and ads into ratings categories and responds to public complaints on a regular basis. This further emphasizes the public fear that offensive media will desensitize our youth and morally corrupt them.
In interesting thing to note is that the ratings placed on media by regulators are almost always age restriction suggestions and imply that within your own home you choose what you consume suggesting that lawfully we are responsible for our own media consumption within out own homes but outside the home there must be a general consensus on what is considered appropriate or not.
This week, tweet me at @RalphiePeerless and let me know, Are there any shows or ads that you aren’t allowed to watch or you don’t allow others to watch?