Classic children’s books hit with trigger warnings for ‘harmful content’

Oct 28, 2021
Classic children's books will receive trigger warnings for harmful content. Source: Getty Images.

Classic children’s books such as The Wizard of Oz, Dr Seuss and Little House on the Prairie will be slapped with a trigger warning for featuring harmful content as part of a Cambridge University project.

Words, phrases, and images that are considered racist or related to slavery or colonialism will feature a content warning at the beginning of each text. The project is being funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council.

In a statement to The Daily Mail, Cambridge University said the aim of the project is to make content “less harmful in the context of a canonical literary heritage that is shaped by, and continues, a history of oppression”.

Funding documents for the project state, “trigger warnings, with indications of harmful content for intersectional identities, will protect researchers, children, and general readers from offensiveness or hurt that can emerge in otherwise safe search queries or acts of browsing”.

The move to slap children’s books with warnings has been met with criticism by interest groups and authors.

The Campaign for Real Education’s, Chris McGovern said the “point of much of children’s literature is to introduce them to alternative worlds”.

“Fairy tales, for example, are saturated with scary characters and that is partly the point of them. Only woke-afflicted adults have such silly notions as trigger warnings.”

American children’s author, Judy Blume also opposed the move to censor children’s literature.

“All books, then, need trigger warnings because in any book there could be something to bother somebody,” she said.

Blume isn’t the only public figure to slam ‘cancel culture’, back in 2020 English broadcaster, Sir Michael Parkinson called out the rise in cancel culture.

“It seems to be out of control and people are getting hurt by it, young people too. God knows we all have enough problems without this additional nonsense,” he said.

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