There Are More Expletives In Teen Novels Than Games

| 24 May 2012 23:30

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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