This paper will explore the evolving relationship between children and their access to potentially harmful materials. The timeline will start at Part II.A with the landmark decision of Prince v. Massachusetts, a 1940’s case, wherein children were afforded the most constitutional protection. In Part II.B, this paper will evaluate another landmark decision: Ginsberg v. New York. In this 1968 case, the Supreme Court declared that children shall not have access to harmful, pornographic materials. By the 1990s, there appeared to be a notable shift in how the Supreme Court decided cases pertaining to children and their access to potentially harmful materials. Part III of this paper will assess less stringent protections of children. Particularly, Part III.A will review Denver Area Educational Telecommunications Consortium, Inc. v. FCC, a 1996 case concerning children and their access to materials on cable television.13 Additionally, in Part III.B, this paper will explore children’s access to materials on the Internet in Reno v. ACLU. In Part III.C, this paper will take an interesting look at Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, a 2002 case exploring a new technological development, virtual child pornography. In Part IV.A, the timeline will come to an end with the recently decided Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Ass’n, wherein the Supreme Court opted to allow children to have access to violent video games, a 180 degree shift from the Ginsberg decision regarding pornography, decided only forty-five years earlier.
Recommended CitationNicole DiGiose, Protecting Children? The Evolution of the First Amendment: A Historical Timeline of Children and Their Access to Pornography and Violence, 33 Pace L. Rev. 462 (2013)
Available at: https://digitalcommons.pace.edu/plr/vol33/iss1/10