Bad Influences on Youth

July 27, 1955

Report Outline
Exposure of Youth to Harmful Influences
Bad Influences and Youthful Delinquency
Measures to Deal with Debasing Influences

Exposure of Youth to Harmful Influences

Efforts to comprehend an apparently widespread breakdown in disciplinary controls over young people point to a number of influences in the national life which seem to be damaging the moral fiber of American youth and which may be responsible for the particularly vicious nature of some juvenile offenses. In its search of more than a year and a half for an explanation of this disturbing situation, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee to Study Juvenile Delinquency has drawn extensively on the experience of policemen, judges, social workers, parents, teachers, clergymen, and others who deal directly with children and adolescents. Their testimony pieces together an unsavory picture which shows commercial interests deliberately fostering a taste for vice and violence among young people, some not yet in their teens.

The evidence by no means indicates widespread corruption of children, but dissemination of depraved literature among minors, and the availability to them of morale-sapping stimulants, suggest that every child may be a potential victim. Although some youngsters may be able to withstand such influences, others may be deeply hurt in ways not immediately apparent. The few whose outlook on life is already seriously disturbed may be pushed into serious, even revolting crime.

The impact of demoralizing influences is heightened today, because children live in a troubled society in which the traditional disciplines of home, school, and church appear to have weakened. With the lifting of old taboos, murder, brutality, violence, lewdness and various kinds of psychopathic criminality have become subjects of free and open discussion in the press and among individuals. Comic books, television shows, and movies, moreover, give youngsters a heavy diet of sex, sin, and crime in a vivid form such as was not available to any previous generation of children.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Apr. 16, 2004  Broadcast Indecency
Mar. 28, 2003  Movie Ratings
Nov. 17, 1995  Sex, Violence and the Media
Feb. 19, 1993  School Censorship
Dec. 20, 1991  The Obscenity Debate
Dec. 07, 1990  Does Cable TV Need More Regulation?
May 16, 1986  Pornography
Jan. 04, 1985  The Modern First Amendment
Oct. 19, 1979  Pornography Business Upsurge
Mar. 09, 1979  Broadcasting's Deregulated Future
Mar. 21, 1973  Pornography Control
May 17, 1972  Violence in the Media
Jan. 21, 1970  First Amendment and Mass Media
Jul. 05, 1967  Prosecution and the Press
Jun. 28, 1961  Peacetime Censorship
Apr. 12, 1961  Censorship of Movies and TV
Dec. 23, 1959  Regulation of Television
Jul. 29, 1959  Control of Obscenity
Jul. 27, 1955  Bad Influences on Youth
Mar. 21, 1952  Policing the Comics
Apr. 12, 1950  Censorship of Motion Pictures
Sep. 20, 1939  Censorship of Press and Radio
Popular Culture