Censorship Discussion Questions

Instructor: Shanna Fox

Shanna has been an educator for 20 years and earned her Master of Education degree in 2017. She enjoys using her experience to provide engaging resources for other teachers.

Censorship is an important topic to discuss with your middle and high school students. Use these discussion questions to help students engage in conversation surrounding censorship in media and literature and how it relates to the freedom of speech.

Censorship Discussion Questions

Censorship is an important topic for discussion with your middle or high school students. There are many sides to the censorship issue and helping students see it from multiple perspectives can help deepen their understanding. Help them engage in meaningful conversations about this topic by using these discussion questions, which relate to the effect of censorship on media, literature, and the freedom of speech. Consider staging a whole class discussion or providing a list of questions to student teams. Additionally, you may want to ask students to select and write a response to one or more questions as a summative assessment option.

Questions about the Media

  • Should the media, including television, radio, and film, be restricted? If so, in what ways? If not, why not? Who should determine restrictions on media messages?
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) monitors radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable and assigns penalties for ''obscene, indecent, and profane broadcasts''. Do you think this monitoring agency is engaging in censorship? Why or why not? Do you think it is necessary? Why or why not?
  • Sometimes, parents or families may object to the appropriateness of media content for their children or teenagers. Therefore, a rating system was put into place which suggests the target audience for TV shows and movies. Do you think this rating system is a good solution? Do you think it achieves the objective of ''protecting'' children and teens from content their parents do not want them to see?
  • There is not as much oversight in monitoring, rating, or assigning penalties for online content. Should the online world be exempt from such scrutiny? Why or why not?
  • There are regulations regarding the truthfulness of advertisements shared through media outlets. Does restricting use of such ads constitute censorship? Why or why not?

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