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Sleazy dictionary!

Posted by Nerhael on 2010-02-23 12:40:27
I came across this a few weeks ago, and meant to write about it then, but forgot. Oh well, here it is:

This is a Guardian article about a school district in Southern California that has banned the use of Merriam Webster's 10th edition because of the "sexually graphic" entry for "oral sex", which if like the online version, may read as: oral stimulation of the genitals. A district spokeswoman was quoted as saying they'll be looking for other things of a graphic nature.

I really don't understand why the current generation of parents seems more and more focused on coddling of this level of their kids. They're going to learn about it one way or another, and surely a simple and clean dictionary definition is about as harmless a way to have it described to you as possible.

This also made me think of a study summary I read that went back 3 generations, and took note of the average area a child is allowed to play in. 3 generations back, the grandfather could bike around for about 5km away without much concern by the parents. The father would be allowed about 1 km away, basically a few blocks around the home to play in. Finally, the father's current children would basically be kept on their street, and not allowed to go any further.

I believe the purpose of the study was to figure out if this continually shrinking area of play had an effect on a child's ability to learn the boundaries of their own abilities if you kept taking away places/things they could do. I don't really recall the results, more just the fact that parents aren't letting their kids explore as much as they were allowed to explore themselves.

This goes back to the overreaction over the oral sex definition, in that parents seem to want to keep their kids in these bubbles of ignorance for as long as possible, and yet, not sure about what the rest of you think, it seems that if anything, kids today are much, MUCH more aware of things like sex and drugs than I ever felt I was. Though it's possible I suppose this is just the hazy perspective added by age.

The Internet though gives a kid access to so much information so easily that I just think these kinds of reactions to physical information just seems absurd. Take the Yellow Pages. I still get the giant Yellow Pages book dropped off at my doorstep every year. Why? How many households don't have 2-3 ways to look up that very information faster, wherever they are?

I think really, your kids are going to do better if you teach them this kind of stuff yourself, rather than letting them read about it on the Internet, or in some sleazy pulp dictionary. Mind you, having no kids myself, I could just be in the "You just don't understand" camp.