What other forms of mass media did older generations complain about?

It seems like a lot of older people and parents often like to complain about the things that the younger generation enjoys. I am not so sure if this is a recent phenomenon or has this been going on through human history. Here are some of the forms of mass media people have been complaining about today:

  1. Video Games: for whatever reason a lot of society still seems to have a hatred of video games. Either they are: 1. Causing our kids to become violent 2. Making them into digital addicts 3. Wasting their precious youth and time.
  2. The Internet: The internet gets a lot of the same complaints
    3.Television: Television gets a lot of complaints for rotting our minds and wasting precious time that we could be reading.

My mother’s mother wouldn’t let her kids listen to the radio on Sunday (except for baseball when my grandfather wanted to listen to a game).

My folks would get on to me for going around with a transistor radio plugged into my ear most of the time.

Read up on the Yellow Press–newspapers have long been subject to complaints:

Of course way back in the day, the complaint was that reading for entertainment ruined the mind:

“The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?”

Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family, Reverend Enos Hitchcock, 1790

There were attacks on comic books in the 40s and 50s and even mass burnings. Google seduction of the innocent or Fredric Wertham.

The waltz and novels were hugely condemned.

I hate to spoil the fun, but the answer to the OP is every last one. Every. Last. One. Anything you can think of, no matter how innocuous today. Nothing new ever becomes widespread without people condemning it in outrage! yes, outrage!

Yup. Even stuff now enjoyed only by the cultural/social elite, e.g. opera and Shakespeare.

Jazz, movies, and yes, comic books.

And that writing and reading killed everyone’s memory.

Are vinyl records mass media?

There were record burnings after John Lennon said that the Beatles were “Bigger than Jesus”.

Socrates wasn’t a fan of writing (if Plato’s to be believed, since he was the one who wrote everything he said down): http://newlearningonline.com/literacies/chapter-1-literacies-on-a-human-scale/socrates-on-the-forgetfulness-that-comes-with-writing/

I for one can’t stand these hidden spoilers. There is a button there, you can press it and reveal what’s going to happen. The temptation is too great and I find myself always clicking on them ruining countless books and movies which I may or may not see. These hidden spoilers should be banned!

It’s not just mass media.

Grunk hate new cliff by salt lick.

A lot of church folks would completely avoid movies due to the terrible content in them.

My parents told me that even in the late 1970’s, many Christians at their church thought going to the movies was…questionable.

Like…any movies for some reason.

– Aristophanes, “The Clouds” c. 420 BCE

Note that this is satire, Aristophanes is making fun of people who went “kids, these days.” So, 2500 years ago, in Athens, parents complained about their kids listening to music in the Phrynis style.


It is well known that from the eve of the Civil War there was a sudden and dramatic surge in the output of the press. As censorship controls broke down following the meeting of the Long Parliament in late 1640, there was a great explosion of pamphlet and other printed materials, discussing a wide range of political, constitutional, and religious topics, and it is probably not too controversial to assert that the English Revolution of the mid-seventeenth century was accompanied by a concomitant media revolution.


To be fair, it was only that specific opera, but it had all sorts of wonderful panic about how “Rapine and violence” were increasing because it glorified it and whatnot.

Damn you, Jragon ! I was about to say that ! :slight_smile:

But OK, backup plan : the printing press was sharply criticized, because it copied other books than the Bible and that was obviously Dangerous.