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[BYU] Study Links TV Profanity,
Teen Aggression

BY MICHAEL FOUST                                                                                                 ©2011 Baptist Press

Teens exposed to profanity in television and video games are more likely to use profanity and also to exhibit physically aggressive behavior, according to a new [Brigham Young University] study published in the journal Pediatrics.

The study of 223 middle school students found that exposure to profanity in the media was "significantly related to beliefs about profanity." In turn, teens who cursed more tended to be more aggressive, if not physically then relationally.

The authors called it the first study of its kind, and they said the results underscore the need for better ratings and content warnings on television and video games.

"[T]here are many times when programs contain profanity but do not receive the appropriate rating," the authors wrote. "As a whole, the television industry should aspire to be more accurate with ratings concerning profanity. In addition, profanity in television is becoming more frequent, even in 'family-friendly' programs. Such a trend is troubling, especially when taken in the context of our results."   

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