Young people who are exposed to profanity on television and in video games are not only more likely to use profanity themselves, but also to engage in aggressive behaviors. Those are the findings of a new study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) studied 266 middle school students in the Midwest, comparing their attitudes about profanity and aggression to their exposure to profanity on television programs and in video games. Participants were asked to identify their three favorite television programs and video games, and then rate each of them with respect to the amount of profanity. The study found that teens exposed to profanity through those mediums were more likely to resort to profanity themselves, as well as to exhibit aggressive behavior and physical violence.
“Profanity is kind of like a stepping stone,” Sarah Coyne, the study’s lead researcher, explained to LiveScience.com. “You don’t go to a movie, hear a bad word, and then go shoot somebody. But when youth both hear and then try profanity out for themselves it can start a downward slide toward more aggressive behavior.”
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