There's More Cussin' in Teen Novels than Video Games, Swears Researcher

Illustration for article titled There's More Cussin' in Teen Novels than Video Games, Swears Researcher

You might not expect a study coming out of Brigham Young University's School of Family Life to have anything good to say about video games. And maybe this doesn't. But it says something a lot worse about books, and I'll take that as a win in this culture war.


Sarah Coyne, a social sciences researcher at the university (whose past work was mentioned here), found that teen-oriented novels contain twice the rate of cursing of most video games. Moreover, characters who curse are portrayed more admirably—as wealthier, better looking and more popular.

Coyne's research examined 40 books; 35 of them contained wirdy-dirds, which is 88 percent, compared to 34 percent of the video game sample she examined. (Wonder if Mafia II was in there.) The profanity she found equated to about seven instances of filth flarn filth per hour of reading.

"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, who advised parents to talk with their children about the books they are reading.

Teen books: twice as obscene as video games? [Christian Science Monitor via Game Politics.]



Got no problem with the suggestion to talk to your kids about what they're reading.

My parents did that to me, and I turned out moderately sane.

Of course, reading mostly Poe, Tolkien, and HP Lovecraft in second grade probably is a sign you need to talk to your kid about something. If nothing else re-iterating that fiction books are not real might help.

No wonder I fell back to CS Lewis and Jules Verne in 3rd grade.

Also, nerdy as hell.