Thursday, July 19, 2012

Should Young Adult Fiction Have Age Ratings?

That's the question recently posed.

From a piece in the Christian Science Monitor...

“All you have to really do is read what teenagers write themselves, and I've judged competitions for teenagers writing, and it's darkness beyond anything I would come up with,” Ness told BBC Breakfast. “Teenagers look at this darkness all the time, and I always think if you're not addressing it in your fiction, then you're abandoning them to face it themselves.

“It's not as if books exist in a vacuum and that's all the input teenagers are getting,” he continued. “Teenagers look at the Internet, they look at the news, they look at pornography on the internet, they look at violent movies on the Internet. So if children's literature is not addressing that, if it's addressing the world as it should be rather than as it is, then why would a teenager read you?”

What’s more, Ness argued, ratings systems for young adult literature simply don’t work. “If it's got an 18 certificate for adults, then younger children will look it out when their parents are not around … Children are great self-censors. They know what they can read and they know what they want to read, and if you don't give it to them, they'll find it somehow.”

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