Bad Language in Books Fosters Teen Profanity

I’ve sometimes wondered about the profanity-laced conversations teens are having these days.  Where is it coming from?  Yes, I know that teens have always been tempted to add a little swagger to their social presence with a shocking word or two.  But why has it become so much more socially acceptable to youth?  Could it be their role models?  A study of adolescent bestsellers revealed that there were 38 swear words on average in the 40 top-selling adolescent novels.  This includes words coming out of the mouths of the some of the most popular characters in the Twilight and Harry Potter novels.  The article revealing this states: “While bad language has been studied in film and on TV extensively this is the first to document its use in books aged at teens – which unlike over media have no content warning or age restriction.”  It also points out that “From a social learning standpoint, this is really important because adolescents are more likely to imitate media characters portrayed in positive, desirable ways.”

The recommendation?  “Parents should talk with their children about the books they are reading.”