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Profanity Essay

632 words - 3 pages

How Profanity in the Media Affects ChildrenBy Sarah Trevino, EHow ContributorStudies show that profanity on television can shape a child's social reality.A study published in the "Journal of Communication" analyzed 30 years of television. It revealed that sexual content on TV has actually decreased, while other offensive behaviors, such as profanity, have increased. A major increase in television profanity was found in the 9 p.m. time slot, and situation comedies were the genre with the greatest increase. Although profanity on television is rarely spoken by or directed at children, studies show an increase in negative behavior in children stemming from viewing profanity in the ...view middle of the document...

Cultivating ViewpointsThe media's use of profanity is believed to affect children by shaping or cultivating their viewpoints on behavior, appropriateness and social reality. The cultivation theory, as explained by Gerbner, proposes that profanity in the media is likely to influence heavy television viewers in their perception of societal reality. They are likely to believe that profanity is acceptable, appropriate, humorous and commonly used in society.Desensitizing EffectsThe parental fear that children will become desensitized by profanity, sexual content and violence on television has been supported by many studies. In the book "Why We Curse: A Neuro-Psycho-Social Theory of Speech," the author cites reports showing that any word -- including a profane word -- repeated to a child will induce desensitization to that word. This supports the idea that If a child hears profanity on a regular basis, those words will become normal to a child and the child will become desensitized to the social taboo of profanity.Antisocial BehaviorA study published in "Communication Quarterly" combined the social learning theory and the cultivation theory and suggested that the desensitization of a child to profanity, mixed with cultivated viewpoints and the urge to model behaviors, will result in a child who exhibits antisocial behaviors. These antisocial behaviors are not limited to profanity. According to the study, they can include violence, inappropriate sexual conduct or other behaviors a child has not learned to view as inappropriate.

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