Here we are again. Back to the debate about whether or not books for young adults should carry a content warning.
Thanks to this article in US News and World Report by Jason Koebler, there have been some hot opinions flying around the internet.
Some say books should be given a content label--similar to MPAA ratings for movies. A rating system would be helpful for parents to know what kind of content in terms of profanity, sex and violence might be found in the books their young adult readers are reading.
Some say a rating system is a violation of rights and would lead to books being banned and books with an R-equivalent rating losing sales. They point out that many of the books containing profanity are problem novels meant to help young adult readers through some of the difficult aspects of life that teens these days have to face. And another important question is on whose opinion would the books be rated?
Quoted in the US News article is researcher Sarah Coyne at Brigham Young University who did an in-depth study of young adult books.
"I think we put books on a pedestal compared to other forms of media," Coyne says. "I thought long and hard about whether to do the study in the first place—I think banning books is a terrible idea, but a content warning on the back I think would empower parents."In some ways I agree with this. There have been times when I wished I had some way to gauge the content of a book before I purchased it. And I don't just mean for YA books. It would be nice to be able to make an informed decision about the books I'm considering reading.
I think there are kids out there who would pay attention to ratings when making choices.
There are also parents out there who see the slightest hint of something questionable and overreact, calling for books to be banned. Need I remind you of the Harry Potter debacle?
I see the pros and cons of both sides of this argument.
There are already many places on the internet where parents or kids can go to find content information about recently published YA books. One of these sites is Common Sense Media, along with numerous book review blogs.
What are your thoughts? Should books for young adults come with a content rating?