The firs thing that many Americans notice when watching Korean TV is that different content is blurred than on America. On Korean network TV, cigarette smoking, drug use, and graphic violence are censored. I can’t help but laugh when a man lifts a cigarette to his face and suddenly the bottom half of his face (from nose to chin) is blurred while he takes a drag. As soon as the cigarette leaves his mouth, the blur is gone. The same is true for drug use shown on American TV series like CSI.
When graphic violence is depicted, Korean censors often blur an entire body. If someone is cut across the hand with a knife, both the hand and the knife are blurred. When a woman takes of her shirt, showing her breasts, it is not often censored. I don’t think I’ve ever seen full frontal nudity on Korean TV, but I’ve seen topless women several times.
The entire time I’ve lived in Korea, I’ve felt like this style of censorship is silly. Recently, it dawned on me that I only feel that way because it’s the opposite of what I’ve always known. Maybe the American style of censorship is backwards. What are we teaching kids when we censor breasts but show hardcore drug use and horrific violence?
I’m certainly not advocating showing sex on TV, but I don’t think a kid seeing a pair of breasts is the end of the world. It sure as hell doesn’t compare to kids seeing people shot, stabbed, or beaten to death. I think it’s time we take a page out of Korea’s book when it comes to deciding which content is the worst for children to see.
Until next time.