Saving Our Children from the First Amendment

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NYU Press, 2003 - Law - 307 pages
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The First Amendment is vital to our political system, our cultural institutions, and our routine social interactions with others. In this provocative book, Kevin Saunders asserts that freedom of expression can be very harmful to our children, making it more likely that they will be the perpetrators or victims of violence, will grow up as racists, or will use alcohol or tobacco.

Saving Our Children from the First Amendment examines both the value and cost of free expression in America, demonstrating how an unregulated flow of information can be detrimental to youth. While the great value of the First Amendment is found in its protection of our most important political freedoms, this is far more significant for adults, who can fully grasp and benefit from the freedom of expression, than for children. Constitutional prohibitions on distributing sexual materials to children, Saunders proposes, should be expanded to include violent, vulgar, or profane materials, as well as music that contains hate speech.

Saunders offers an insightful meditation on the problem of protecting our children from the negative effects of freedom of expression without curtailing First Amendment rights for adults.

  

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Contents

The Most Important Freedom
19
The Costs of Free Expression
43
Relieving the Strain on the First Amendment
67
Inculcating Values
86
Children and Other Constitutional Rights
104
Obscenity
124
Violence
146
The Internet
164
Hate Speech
179
The Coarsening of Society
202
Advertising
213
Speech in the Schools
228
Conclusion
256
Notes
263
Index
301
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Kevin W. Saunders is Professor of Law at Michigan State University-DCL College of Law.

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