Does the Media Teach Children Bad Language?

Essay by JuliaKWillCollege, UndergraduateB, March 2007

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While I was working with a group of children I heard one of the boys get very upset. He angrily screamed a bad word in the face of another child. I took him aside and asked him where he learned that horrible word. The little boy looked at me and replied, "TV." Most children love television. Many will sit on the couch staring at the screen for hours. There are some great, educational programs on TV and it can help children learn in some instances. The trouble with TV occurs when parents do not constantly monitor what their children are watching. One problem is that the media teaches kids bad language.

To find out where children learn profanities I did a survey of elementary school children. There were 15 students ranging in age from six to nine. I took each student out of the room, so we were by ourselves.

I then asked them if they knew any bad words. If they said they did, then I asked them where they first learned them. Most of the children thought it was a strange question 14 children said they knew "bad words." I did not define what a bad word was, because it is a subjective thing. Wikipedia, an encyclopedia, defines profanity as "a word, expression, or other usage which is generally considered insulting, rude or vulgar" ("Profanity"). Of the 14 kids, ten of them said that they first heard the words on TV. These results surprised me.

As parents, you need to know just how much children pick up on. The kids told me that they learned bad words from the shows that their parents watch. I'm not sure if parents realize that their children are absorbing this much shocking information. You should make sure kids don't watch TV shows...