Books should have content warnings

Parents worry that they don't know if a book is appropriate for their children. For an adult as well, finding a scene of extreme violence or sexual content in your book when you just wanted some light reading can be stressful and mean you wasted money on a book you don't want. The back cover isn't always that informative and less popular books might not have many reviews available. On the other hand, content warnings come dangerously close to censorship, could lead to spoilers and might encourage writers to insert or remove content to make the book sell better when it doesn't add to the quality of the writing.

Books should have content warnings
Yes because...

People want to know what they're buying.

It matters to readers whether their book contains content such as violence, explicit sex and strong language because it affects the whole mood of the book and makes it an entirely different read. A reader might find it interesting to read something especially controversial, they might be after a sensationalist read or they might want something non-stressful so they can wind down. With some books it is obvious from their genre, layout, title etc. but it isn't always the case. Recently I bought a book which was advertised as humorous and light-hearted - there was a detailed rape scene a third of the way through the book. It is a waste of someone's money to buy something they don't really want and a full price book is expensive.

No because...

The fact that books are expensive is an argument for spending more time before you buy a book finding out more about it, looking at reviews, asking for the advice of friends and book store employees. If you can't find the time to do that, you might not take the time to appreciate the book either. Alternatively, if you're not sure that the book is worth full price, buy it second hand. If you're not in the mood for it, keep it to read later, sell it or give it to a friend.

Books should have content warnings
Yes because...

Words can affect you as strongly as pictures.

The content of a book can affect you the same as the content of a film, so there should be the same content warnings. While you can't actually see the scenes, strong imagery, loaded vocabulary and detailed description can paint a vivid mental picture that stays in your mind for just as long. While people have difficulty purely imagining something, the average person will also have seen such images in films and the news for their imagination to draw upon.

No because...

This could be taken to the extreme - anything can cause a vivid mental image - a single word, a tune, another innocent picture we happen to mentally associate with the image. Words are everywhere, we can't content screen our whole life. We can just deal with the obvious, like knowing whether something shows us the actual image we don't want to see.

Books should have content warnings
Yes because...

Parents need advice when buying for children.

Some books written for older children and young adults can talk about topics that a parent might not think their child is ready for yet, or might want to explain to them first. For instance, some parents worry that the Twilight series gives the wrong message about what a healthy relationship is like. Parents won't want their children to just read children's books either but will want to introduce them to books of adult reading level so that their reading skills improve. It would be easier for them if books came with advice on whether they are suitable for children.

No because...

A parent should actually read a book before buying it for a child - otherwise, they can't discuss it with them. When buying for themselves, a child is unlikely to follow the advice of a content advisory warning and a bookshop can't refuse to sell books without creating an unfriendly atmosphere in the shop.

It is up to the parent to decide for themselves what is appropriate; summaries of the book's content are readily available online. If a parent does not want to take the time to seek out this information and read over it before deciding whether to buy the book for their child, they would not read content warnings, either.

Books should have content warnings
Yes because...

Online fiction sites already have content warnings.

Internet fiction archives such as fanfiction.net and fictionpress.com include age ratings and specific content warnings. Some of them also advise that a person should be over 18 to log in if content on the site in general is likely to be adult material. This is a reaction to the wishes of users who want to know in more detail what they are about to read and they are only likely to click on content they know in advance will interest them, as well as the fact that children will be likely to visit the website. This attitude exists towards books too - more so, because books cost money - so we should have the same warnings on books.

No because...

People do read differently online - they expect shorter works, they aren't expecting as high quality, fan fiction is much more popular than original fiction and people will usually want to read something very specific like a pairing between two specific characters. Websites legally have to be content screened for under 18s as well.

Books should have content warnings
Yes because...

Written works should be subject to the same types of ratings systems as other entertainment media

1) Books should have content warnings in order to regulate exposure to certain themes and ideas in children and adults alike.

2) Implementing in this policy would not affect any changes to the industry or the ways books are marketed and sold besides requiring them to be submitted for rating by a professionally appointed organization.

3) Rating the books will prevent people, especially conservative people, from being exposed to content they find disagreeable and will help parents and booksellers regulate exposure to the same content by young and impressionable readers without parental consent.

4) It is important (and standard practice) to label violent and sexually explicit works. We already do this for videos and images, why not books?

5) If we don't implement this policy, children will continue to be exposed to content they're not capable of understanding and such exposures will continue to negatively influence their behavior and psychological development.

No because...
Books should have content warnings
Yes because...

some books have bad influnce for children

This argument is books should have content warnings. Because Parents worry that they don't know if a book is appropriate for their children. My response is book should have content warnings. Because sometimes some book has inappropriate content. For example, violence, death or sexual contents. It makes us uncomfortable. These are bad for children. It can be difficult to know the content of the book because I think back cover just tell the main point of the book and usually does not tell bad points. However, Sometimes, children do not know or cannot decide a book is appropriate or not for them. Sometimes, a person become criminal because of the content of the books, some people will mix real word and fiction and do same thing as book talked about and also bad influence for mental. Therefore, books should have content warning to protect children from inappropriate content. Because, everybody wants to enjoy or feel relaxing while they reading books that the reason books should have content warnings.

No because...

Harry Potter had a censorship some time a ago is that a bad influence?

Books should have content warnings
No because...

Danger of censorship.

People are likely to disagree with what does and does not need a content warning, just as they do for films. We censor films for violence, sex and strong language but it is debated whether we should censor specifically for homosexual relationships, political or religious controversy, scenes of racism and other discrimination. Content advisory warnings could turn into age ratings, restrictions on books being sold in environments where children will browse books, then outright banning these themes in books.

Yes because...

This hasn't been a problem with films so far, except in countries with restrictive Governments who will also ban books whether they have content warnings in the UK or not.

Censorship isn't necessarily a bad thing. Yes, we need to defend our freedom of speech, however, there are plenty of bad things in the world that i would be plenty happy to have someone blank out for me.

Books should have content warnings
No because...

Legal issues for bookshops.

Once the content warnings are in place, there would end up being cases where people try and sue bookshops for not correctly advising them of book content - because advice labels are lost or obscured, or because customers disagree with bookshops and what should and should not be rated. Second hand books can't have content advice added to them without risk of damaging the pages and it would cost a lot more than a small bookshop can afford, so the second hand book industry may suffer as a result.

Yes because...

This is only if the content rating is not transparently devised.
Music and movie stores are never sued for giving vague content warnings. Even though a lot of what is R rated today would have been rated PG-13 in 1984 and vice versa. Case in point, the film 'The Woman in red' features complete nudity but was rated PG-13 back in the day . [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088414/]]
[[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088414/board/nest/54676356?d=75125796&p=1#75125796]]

Books should have content warnings
No because...

Pressure on authors to write certain kinds of books.

One of two things will happen: authors will find that the books with certain content advisory warnings will look more controversial and exciting and so they'll sell well, or they will worry about legal backlash from selling these books to children. Either way, they will end up adjusting their content to fit the trend. Nobody wants to read such a book - it won't be what the author really wants to write, it will be uninspired, feel artificial where content has been edited or removed, is likely to be poorly written.

Yes because...

Authors already write to please the audience and fit in with the trends. They already write bad fiction. It sells well because the majority of people have bad taste. This won't change, content warnings or no.

Books should have content warnings
No because...

Danger of spoilers.

What happens if I write a book in which the major plot twist is that a character dies - any character at all, not just a specific character - up to now there has been no death - I hide it well in the narrative and then I am legally required to put in a content warning about the death?

Yes because...

Death in itself is not explicit content. Children are not barred from funerals of pets/relatives. Death is not something anyone can shield children from.

Currently you are not required to give content warnings.

If the death is not described in vividly violent detail (as in murder mysteries, which children read all the time) then it does not qualify as explicit or adult content.

Books should have content warnings
No because...

The synopsis on the back cover

already gives potential readers a pretty good idea of what kind of content will be featured in book in question.

Yes because...

The synopsis does not reveal everything.
Shocking plot twists are not exposed.

Books should have content warnings
No because...

Adult novels and children's books are already put in different sections of book stores. Adding labels would be redundant

Book store keepers are aware of the kind of books they are selling and can advise parents on the kind of books that are suitable for children. Most book stores have different sections based on book content maturity.

Yes because...

Some adult novels look like fantasy novels or Children's books and can be mistaken for them.

A label would make it easier for store keepers to arrange books and for no confusion to be created.

Different people have different ideas of what is explicit content. Labels such as 'murder' 'sex' 'nudity' 'suicide' 'abusive language' 'violence' etc will let parents be the judge of whether the content is appropriate for their children.

Books should have content warnings
No because...

age descrimination, teenagers should be allowed to choose their reading content, could restrict flow of information

Young adults are becoming more and more involved in the world, especially in risky or embarassing behaviors. The problem with this is no one really wants to tell their parents about having sex or doing drugs and ask for their advice. But this is important information for teenagers to gain because they cannot assess their risky behavior if they do not understand all the risks and options open to them. For example, a young girl may become pregnant or contract a sexual disease if she does not learn proper birth control usage. This is why having availablility of more mature literature that touches on these subjects is important. By puting warnings on the books there is a chance of age restrictions being into place like with rated R movies. And if that occurs then more young adults will be ignorant of the risks they are taking.

Yes because...

To leave sex education down to books is to evade personal responsibility to educate our young about such matters. We should not rely on books to teach our young matters which have explicit content. Therefore, we should have content warnings on books so that adults feel more of a need to educate their young.

Young adults don't need absolute control over their lives at teen ages. Hormones, mood swings, etc. have well seen to a clouded pathway.

Books should have content warnings
No because...

Number of people who read a book will accelerate decrease

This argument is books should have content warnings. Because Parents worry that they don't know if a book is appropriate for their children. My response is book should not have content warnings because right now many people do not read books therefore if book have content warning then there will be less opportunities to read books. Number of people who read a book will accelerate decrease. If parents worry that their children will read inappropriate content then the parents can warn to their children ot tell them it is appropirate or not. The books have many good points. For example, when I was a kid I read many books. Books are very good opportunities to learn words, idiom or sometimes world situations. There are more important things in the books. The book of Harry Potter series had censorship problem a long time ago. But many young children read this book series. Sometimes it is also good way to develop their culture literacy by this book series. Therefore, books should not have content warning it will be increases people who do not read books because books are one of our knowledge teacher.

Yes because...
Books should have content warnings
No because...

becasue everybody wants to enjoy thier time.

This argument is books should have content warnings. Because Parents worry that they don't know if a book is appropriate for their children. My response is book should have content warnings. Because sometimes some book has inappropriate content for example, violence, death or sexual contents. It makes us uncomfortable. These are bad for children. It can be difficult to know the content of the book because I think back cover just tell the main point of the book and usually does not tell bad points. However, Sometimes, children do not know or cannot decide a book is appropriate or not for them. Sometimes, a person become criminal because of the content of the books, some people will mix the real world and fiction and do same thing as book talked about. Therefore, censorship is good way to protect children or even adult people from inappropriate contents. Already some movie or TV show gets censorships therefore, we also need this system for books. Because, everybody wants to enjoy or feel relaxing while they reading books that the reason books should have content warnings.

Yes because...
Books should have content warnings
No because...

less opportunities to read books

The argument is Books should or should not have content warnings, and there are many opinions of both sides. My response is books should not have content warnings because if books do this them there will be suppression of our freedom or freedom of expression. Therefore, it will only few books are available to read. Many books are will disappears because many author will get too much stress if there is restrict of the content. Some books are created by true story and if there is inappropriate language or content then we cannot hear real voices. Including inappropriate content is okay because parents or other adults need to teach their children what is a bad, bad actions or languages or common sense. Sometimes these contents are necessary for educations. I think many young teens have curiosity about sexual content, it is okay it just normal behaviors. These are the reasons books should not have content warnings because of our freedom. There is no way to take our freedom.

Yes because...


Books should have content warnings

What do you think?
(67%) (33%)

Continue the Debate - Leave a Comment

2 Comments on "Books should have content warnings"

JOE_REILLY

I’m doing a regional debate on whether books have age restriction and me and my partner are for age restrictions I’m 13 years old. I would like some points just to finish my talk. I would also like some points on they shouldn’t have age restrictions so I can prepare for their Point Of Informations.

Much appreciated. Joe. :)

Yes and we must include religous books also.

wpDiscuz