I recently learned about a fantastic innovation for movies called ClearPlay, which is in essence a content filter for DVD movies. Apparently, the filter settings for different areas of concern (e.g. violence, profanity, sexual themes, substance use,) are customizable so that every family will have the best-suited viewing experience for their personal standards.
This strikes me as supercool. In today’s age, we have not only web content filters, but movie content filters as well! But what I would love to see is a filter for reading materials. I’m in conflict about taking a Sharpie marker to the physical books I own, theoretically, it shouldn’t be all that hard to do that with eBooks.
I heard that for some religious private schools, special, semi-abridged editions of various public domain classics, such as The Scarlet Letter and certain Shakespeare works have been made available so that the students can have a well-rounded exposure to literature without exposure to questionable content. (Okay, so I’m not sure how anyone could fully make The Scarlet Letter a completely “clean” book, but you get the idea.)
If we could do the same thing with more modern books, like, say, Ender’s Game, The Mortal Instruments series, The Fault in Our Stars, or even Newbery award winners, people who are sensitive to inappropriate content (or whose parents are sensitive to it) can still enjoy the books their less-fortunate friends are enjoying without having to worry about the offensive bits that ultimately ruin the books for a select few.
Now, a lot of people out there still think censorship of any kind is wrong, but this wouldn’t be for people like that. This would be purely voluntary, for the free-thinking individuals who genuinely want it. I know I do.
There are a lot of books I would have read if not for the gratuitous amounts of profanity and sexual content. If they could be “cleaned up” so that they were a-prude-propriate, in addition to little old me, so many strict households could derive benefit.
So, does this concept exist already? If so, I’d love a referral. Otherwise, someone really ought to set it in motion. Let this be the start!