There Are More Expletives In Teen Novels Than Games

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There Are More Expletives In Teen Novels Than Games

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Kids cussing? It might be down to books rather than games according to a recent study.

The study comes from Sarah Coyne, a social science researcher at Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The study doesn't exactly say anything positive about gaming, but it does seem to be giving the medium a fair shake against its older, more established peers. Like books, for example.

"Unlike almost every other type of media, there are no content warnings or any indication if there is extremely high levels of profanity in adolescent novels," said Coyne.

And there are extremely high levels of profanity in adolescent novels, apparently. Coyne researched some 40 recent teen novels; 35 of which contained expletives. That gives teen literature a solid 88% on the filth-o-meter, compared to gaming's relatively saintly 34%. I think we're ahead in terms of straight-up body count, however.

Coyne also discovered that characters who use expletives are consistently portrayed as wealthier, more attractive and more popular than their non-swearing counterparts.

It is a touch amusing that most parents seem so glad to see their kids reading anything (or indeed, doing anything that doesn't involve hypodermic syringes) that they'll completely ignore what their children are reading. More insidious, however, is the double standard applied to other mediums. I probably don't need to remind you that one of the most popular teen novels of the past few years features a motley crew of teenagers murdering each other for the enjoyment of a baying, bloodthirsty crowd. How would the public respond to a videogame about the same subject?

Source: Brigham Young University

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Unless there's a multiplayer aspect of course.

DVS BSTrD:
Unless it's multiplayer of course

Hah, very nice.

Going by the study's logic, that means every XBLA user is a likable, billionaire sex god.

Oh, no, can't have kids reading anything with challenging themes or engaging subject matter. They might even start to enjoy reading. One day it's young adult novels, then they move on to the harder stuff, and before you know it they're reading Homer and Kafka.

Kahunaburger:
Oh, no, can't have kids reading anything with challenging themes or engaging subject matter. They might even start to enjoy reading. One day it's young adult novels, then they move on to the harder stuff, and before you know it they're reading Homer and Kafka.

Much better to have teen girls thinking that trying to kill yourself is good way to get attention or that every boy that isn't completely dependent on you will end-up hurting them.

Man, I wish my parents were glad I'm reading. They tell me the nonfiction history books I read are a waste of time, much less the sci-fi stuff I like to waste time on.

Of course, they don't approve of my gaming either, so *shrugs*

Eh either way if a kid can't handle a bit of foul language in literature or games by the time they're a teen, then they won't last long when their future bosses cuss them out

Grey Carter:

DVS BSTrD:
Unless there's a multiplayer aspect of course

Hah, very nice.

Going by the study's logic, that means every XBLA user is a likable, billionaire sex god.

And just what is the percentage of video games that are even aimed at a teen or above audience anyway?
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Less than I thought.

Captcha:have an inkling
Glad to see you agree.

"Filth-o-meter"? Is there an image or at least a graph for this so called "meter", or is just is it just "whatever the hell we feel like at the time"?

Also, Twilight and The Hunger Games compared to Mass Effect and Gears of War.

DVS BSTrD:

Grey Carter:

DVS BSTrD:
Unless there's a multiplayer aspect of course

Hah, very nice.

Going by the study's logic, that means every XBLA user is a likable, billionaire sex god.

And just what is the percentage of video games that are even aimed at a teen or above audience anyway?
image
Less than I thought.

Captcha:have an inkling
Glad to see you agree.

It could be that some T or M games sell a lot more than your average E game though.

You would think that more filth in books would make young people want read more, bit if it doesn't then these should


I remember when I first really got in to reading about 6-7 years ago (I'm only 18 so) my mum thought it was great although it didn't take long for her to take the complete opposite opinion and encourage me to read less and go out more.

Also what counts as a "Teen" rating when it comes to books? I've read a lot of things that I would assume are on the adult side of classification but the only books I've seen that have a clear rating on them are the erotic literature books they sell that you have to be of age to buy.

Heheh, I remember doing a reading assignment in school when I was there (Christ...that's six years ago all ready!). Everyone else chose short, simple books from the library, whereas I went out and bought a copy of American Psycho.

Kahunaburger:
Oh, no, can't have kids reading anything with challenging themes or engaging subject matter. They might even start to enjoy reading. One day it's young adult novels, then they move on to the harder stuff, and before you know it they're reading Homer and Kafka.

We can't have them reading those filthy books! Chaucer! Rabelais! BALZAC!

Maybe it's about time that parents took responsibility rather than looking for a scapegoat.
Anyway, kids are going to come across swear words, it's up to the parents to teach them when and indeed if it's appropriate to use them.

Heavily aware of this, genuinely amused that the public does not, also aware that video games are the scapegoat for behavioral problems of our era.

JUST LIKE BOOKS/RADIO/TV before them. And there's more expletives in movies and tv also.

I think Games on the whole are a medium with far more positives to offer. The only time rude language really comes into it a majority of the time is in online play with ...y'know... real people.

"How would the public respond to a videogame about the same subject?"

I wanna find out

Grey Carter:
owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Aaannnddd I'm done. I don't trust a group of people who blindly worship in a faith they can offer no evidence for to perform valid science.

good thing they didn't go to XBL!

. I probably don't need to remind you that one of the most popular teen novels of the past few years features a motley crew of teenagers murdering each other for the enjoyment of a baying, bloodthirsty crowd. How would the public respond to a videogame about the same subject?

I would really like to see how Fox responds to a Battle Royalle game.

I think books usually have more dialogue than games period. Don't know about swearing. I read Naked Lunch when i was 15, i'm pretty desentisized.

That's very true, the absence of ratings in books makes it easy for kids to pick up books that would be normally be rated as 18.

When i was 14 i read quite a few books by Sven Hassel about life in a penal battalion in the Werhmacht during WW2. I enjoyed reading the novels, but needless to say there were brutally graphic in terms of violence and sex- and Hassel is very good at graphic imagery. If his books are ever made into films, they would all be rated 18 without a shadow of doubt. When i was that age i also read some of Road Dahl's adult novels...which certainly were adult. One story for instance was about a man exploring the Saudi Arabian desert were he comes across a palace built around an oasis, where he is seduced by the emir's beautiful daughter but is tricked into actually sleeping with her ugly deformed sister...and the man comes away with an STD if i remember rightly.

So yeah, i learnt quite a lot about adults from reading books in my youth. I considered it quite educational.

People would probably create a sensation over a Hunger Games game but then the Hunger Games is probably one of the most anti-violence pieces of literature/film to enjoy mainstream success in a long time.

For the record though, I know quite a few parents who were worried about their children reading the books/watching the film

Grey Carter:
The study comes from Sarah Coyne, a social science researcher at Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

-SNIP-

Grey Carter:
And there are extremely high levels of profanity in adolescent novels, apparently.

It's the source that makes me uneasy, really. I looked through the link, but can't find a mention of which words the study considered profane. I've seen plenty of book/movie/game reviews on Christian websites and they pick up on things that I - and from my experience, the average teen - wouldn't even notice. There's a tendency to be more sensitive about mild cursing or "non-Christian themes". The Harry Potter/satanism connection is a good example.

While I think we can all agree that something like "fuck", "cunt" or "Uncle Mingefinger's well-used cumsponge" are all profanity, the hyper-sensitivty often found in those who devote their time to pursuits like this could lead them to consider words like "hell", "damn" or "bitch" to be profane and unsuitable for teenagers (clearly indicating that they don't know or can't remember being teenagers themselves. Teenagers swear like kings, damn hell ass kings!).

Is there a link somewhere that I missed to which specific words the study was looking for?

Grey Day for Elcia:

Grey Carter:
owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Aaannnddd I'm done. I don't trust a group of people who blindly worship in a faith they can offer no evidence for to perform valid science.

Well that's more than a little ridiculous. When you consider how much scientific progress has been made by individuals professing a religious or spiritual belief, it's a bit foolish to say they can't be trusted because of those beliefs.

Given how often those of an anti-religious bent complain about the religious being "close-minded", it's ironic how often this kind of attitude pops up.

SonicWaffle:

Grey Day for Elcia:

Grey Carter:
owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Aaannnddd I'm done. I don't trust a group of people who blindly worship in a faith they can offer no evidence for to perform valid science.

Well that's more than a little ridiculous. When you consider how much scientific progress has been made by individuals professing a religious or spiritual belief, it's a bit foolish to say they can't be trusted because of those beliefs.

Given how often those of an anti-religious bent complain about the religious being "close-minded", it's ironic how often this kind of attitude pops up.

Someone who professes to not only believe in, but know for a fact their god exists, has no place in modern science. If you want to believe in whatever god your parents raised you to worship, go ahead. I don't care at all. Be Christian or Druidic, worship Ra or a cow. I couldn't care less how you spend your time. But to turn around and pretend to participate in the scientific method? No. Just no. If you turn your back on the most back principles of science (observation, study and evidence) you don't get to play scientist and expect people to listen.

Grey Day for Elcia:
Someone who professes to not only believe in, but know for a fact their god exists, has no place in modern science.

Simply because you disagree with one of their personal beliefs? How about, say, theistic evolutionists? Let's say that today - breaking news! - evolution has been conclusively proven by a scientist who just happens to be extremely religious. Do you flatly deny the evidence because you think the person who discovered it is untrustworthy because of his religious belief? What if the guy had cured AIDS? Would you tell him he had no place in modern science because of his religion?

Grey Day for Elcia:
If you want to believe in whatever god your parents raised you to worship, go ahead. I don't care at all. Be Christian or Druidic, worship Ra or a cow. I couldn't care less how you spend your time.

Clearly you do care how they spend their time, because you are opposed to said people, for lack of a better term, "doing science". Religious or no, our time is our own, and if they want to use it becoming scientists and learning new things then that's up to them, isn't it?

Grey Day for Elcia:
But to turn around and pretend to participate in the scientific method? No. Just no. If you turn your back on the most back principles of science (observation, study and evidence) you don't get to play scientist and expect people to listen.

That's not a great argument you've got there. Do you believe in, say, love? Mercy, justice, truth? Break the entire universe down into it's smallest component pieces and you won't find a single speck of any of them, but they certainly exist. You can observe and study their effects but not the concepts themselves, which go far beyond simple chemical reactions in the brain.

SonicWaffle:
That's not a great argument you've got there. Do you believe in, say, love? Mercy, justice, truth? Break the entire universe down into it's smallest component pieces and you won't find a single speck of any of them, but they certainly exist. You can observe and study their effects but not the concepts themselves, which go far beyond simple chemical reactions in the brain.

Your argument... is pointless.

Emotion is caused by chemical and electrical receivers in the brain that have evolved to trigger certain responses in our body -- fear to run, love to protect our young and ensure our survival, disgust to avoid negative environments or situations, etc.

You cannot argue any god within science. Period. We've had more than several thousand gods worshiped in our brief history--from spirits to animals, beings in the clouds to forces of nature, the viking gods to the Greek pantheon, Asian man-animal-gods to a guy with a beard--every single one of them lacking any evidence at all. Nothing. None. Anyone who tells themselves they "know" their chosen god is real, is a fool. A blind fool. You cannot expect anyone that respects science to take you serious when you throw out all logic, reason and method.

It's not an issue of opinion or difference; if you believe in a god or gods, you aren't using science and are blindly following a faith. Anyone who refuses to use basic science and take a look at what they believe, is either painfully in denial or an utter fool. If you can't show evidence for it or, god forbid, actually prove your claims, you have no reason to believe them. If you choose to continue believing, you are knowingly avoiding logic, reason and intelligence.

A very smart man once said of religion, it is the surrender of the mind and of reason. He was correct.

The actual issue here is a bit differant than you might think. The games industry has become so paranoid that it tends to over-rate games to avoid contreversy. To put things into perspective something like breast nuddity is pretty much T / PG-13 type material. The old "Scream" movies even made a joke about that, with a guy wanting to have sex and the girl saying "no, but I can give you the PG version" and flashing her boobs if I recall. With a video game though anything like that gets stuck in an "M" catagory to be "safe". As a result people get odd ideas about what content is like in games, since your typical "M" rated game is little more than a "T" rated title with a differant label, parents buy it, and then when they see a game actually worthy of the "M" or "R" rating they freak out due to the assumptions.

The thing is that books writing for a teen audience, are actually using their rating. If you look at all the action movies and such where people die (oftentimes brutally) and there is only a PG rating, you get the idea. There is oftentimes also swearing, boobs, innuendo, and tons of other stuff at that rating. Not to mention goodly numbers of young protaganists.

"The Hunger Games" really doesn't do anything that couldn't be done at a PG rating, and while the idea is shocking to those not genere savvy to be aware of all the similar things created through the years, it's not exactly pushing the ratings when it comes to actual content.

Honestly this whole arguement has been around before, albiet without the direct countrpoint to other media like games (where I have hopefully explained the disparity). Right about the time I was getting too old for them, there was this major push for young adult horror. Guys/teams like R.L. Stine cut their teeth on things like "Fear Street" and spawned tons of similar series and imitators, accross the young adult spectrum. It was pretty much what the whole Twiligt-type paranormal romance is now. These books generated an outcry because while they didn't break any real "ratiings" barriers for a teen audience, plenty of fuddy duddies and religious types were scandalized by stories about students killing each other for fun, satanism, torture, demons, monsters, and all kinds of other things. R.L. Stine himself wound up under so much pressure that he more or less abandoned his "Fear Street" books/universe in favor of doing "Goosebumps" which was cheezy enough and aimed at young enough kids where it didn't invite the same kinds of criticisms.

Like most issues, it seems to go in cycles. Things blew over, people forgot about young adult fiction contreversies, and it's being "discovered" again and being used by certain elements to grab a few headlines.... and I'm pretty sure publicity plays as much of a role as any genuine concern. The timing here is uncanny, because we are after all seeing a big focus on young adult fiction, and things like "Hunger Games" making serious bank, with the public interested, now is a perfect time to start presenting it a boogie man.

To me at least this is a non-reveal, I mean I've criticized games for not exploiting their ratingms, and over-rating plenty of times. I've also read enough young adult fiction where I know how the content tends to go (and yes, there ARE actually times where they do step over the line). The discrepency is pretty obvious, but I tend to mostly compare games and movies because I figure not many would really get it if I started comparing games to young adult fiction, especially given that I don't remember a lot of specifics given the amount of time that's gone by since I had any interest.

DVS BSTrD:

Grey Carter:

DVS BSTrD:
Unless there's a multiplayer aspect of course

Hah, very nice.

Going by the study's logic, that means every XBLA user is a likable, billionaire sex god.

And just what is the percentage of video games that are even aimed at a teen or above audience anyway?
image
Less than I thought.

Captcha:have an inkling
Glad to see you agree.

Hmmm, well I'd question that graph in a practical sense. In general I'd imagine most "real" games happen to be T or above. That huge number of "E" games probably comes from all the shovelware jewel case titles, apps, browser games, and other things that are hot right now. Every cut rate, go nowhere, hidden object game, block puzzle game, or jumpman clone is crammed into that catagory. While technically games, they aren't generally what we think of as game in discussing things like this... you know console titles on discs, boxed PC games or most of what you download from STEAM, etc...

That's my thoughts at any rate. When most people who are into games enough to talk about them on forums and periodicals and such, when they discuss games they generally aren't talking about stuff from the app store even if they are games in a literal sense.

To compile a graph for a community like this you'd need to narrow it down, and set specific criteria... which might be hard to nail down so everyone will accept as a fair standard.

Of course I could be missing the point here.

How does what you believe in have any effect in what someone can do with science? I am a Christian and I love science. Just because I believe in God does not change what science is. If I go up to a rock and say that it is a sedimentary rock, my belief has nothing to do with it. It's a sedimentary rock because it is a sedimentary rock and will always be a sedimentary rock if there is a God or not. I know that you cannot prove the existence of God but why should that stop someone from doing what they want to do.

Another very smart man by the name of Albert Einstein said, "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Does this make his E=MC2 any less true?

How mnay people read vs play games?

Normally I would be defending a study like this, but if 80% of children play videogames vs 40% reading (made up statistics, but I suspect vging is higher) then there is a great likelihood of children being exposed to swear words being spoken out loud in videogames. In a book they're written, in a game they're said, and if less and less children are reading them, then there's less and less chance of it coming from books. I would also like to know which books were used.

As for body count though. Have you read Harry Potter or Twilight or the Hunger Games or Artemis Fowl or Skulduggery Pleasant? They're got a fair few killing sprees in them.

Grey Carter:
I probably don't need to remind you that one of the most popular teen novels of the past few years features a motley crew of teenagers murdering each other for the enjoyment of a baying, bloodthirsty crowd. How would the public respond to a videogame about the same subject?

There have been videogames about the same subject; Off the top of my head, there were Smash TV and Madworld, and there were likely more as well. True, as far as I know none of them specifically involves teenagers, but those come darn close.

I knew reading was a bad inflooinse, that's why Im glad I never got too deep into it.

SonicWaffle:

Grey Carter:
The study comes from Sarah Coyne, a social science researcher at Brigham Young University, which is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

-SNIP-

Grey Carter:
And there are extremely high levels of profanity in adolescent novels, apparently.

It's the source that makes me uneasy, really. I looked through the link, but can't find a mention of which words the study considered profane. I've seen plenty of book/movie/game reviews on Christian websites and they pick up on things that I - and from my experience, the average teen - wouldn't even notice. There's a tendency to be more sensitive about mild cursing or "non-Christian themes". The Harry Potter/satanism connection is a good example.

While I think we can all agree that something like "fuck", "cunt" or "Uncle Mingefinger's well-used cumsponge" are all profanity, the hyper-sensitivty often found in those who devote their time to pursuits like this could lead them to consider words like "hell", "damn" or "bitch" to be profane and unsuitable for teenagers (clearly indicating that they don't know or can't remember being teenagers themselves. Teenagers swear like kings, damn hell ass kings!).

Is there a link somewhere that I missed to which specific words the study was looking for?

That is what I was thinking about also. What words are deemed profane for the purposes of the study. Are they going with Carlin's 7 dirty words or are they including things like damn, hell or taking the lord's name in vain (religious university so figured that last one might also be considered profane for the purposes of the study)?

I'd be interested to see the parameters of the study as well as the data. It could be a simple spreadsheet. Title of book, total number of instances of profanity, and then a breakdown of how many times each profane word was used.

As for the tangent that's developed regarding the religion and higher learning: Just because a university has a religious affiliation does not mean it is filled with people incapable of independent thought or conducting academic/scientific research. If that were the case, we wouldn't have schools with religious affiliations ranked among the top universities in the US. (BYU, to tie this back to the article, is ranked #71 in the US News and World Report rankings.) Furthermore, just because a person subscribes to a particular religion does not mean he buries his head in the sand any time science comes into conflict with his religious beliefs. Some do, of course, but many do not.

DVS BSTrD:

Kahunaburger:
Oh, no, can't have kids reading anything with challenging themes or engaging subject matter. They might even start to enjoy reading. One day it's young adult novels, then they move on to the harder stuff, and before you know it they're reading Homer and Kafka.

Much better to have teen girls thinking that trying to kill yourself is good way to get attention or that every boy that isn't completely dependent on you will end-up hurting them.

or having a kid with an emotionally abusive boyfriend and then having another guy say that he and your new born are going to be married sometime in the future or some shit, and still be in high school. not to mention that several deaths happening in direct relation to your dependency for abusive relationships.

that would just be stupid.

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