Posted: 18 October, 2016
by @clairesherwood_ / Kendall Davies
Swearing Around Kids - It's Not As Bad As You Think!
The accidental slip-of the-tongue has happened to all of us in front of kids, but turns out it may not be that bad.
A US scientist has written a book, challenging other studies that argue swearing is harmful to children, can cause an immediate negative psychological reaction and can numb children emotionally.
Benjamin K. Bergen does agree that there is an effect when children hear swear words, he also argues it's not always a negative one.
Much of the taboo around swearing, says Bergen, comes from the tendency to associate profanity with verbal abuse. He is quick to point out that verbal abuse and cursing are not the same thing.
Profanity is only actually used aggressively about 10% of the time. The rest of the time it's used for things like humour or creating a rapport or friendship with others, he says.
The most important part of a sentence is not necessarily the swear word, but the words used around it that create the context.
"You can use profanity positively, and you can use 'clean' language abusively," Bergen also writes.
So if you're stuck in traffic, or watching the footy, and let a 'bad word' slip around the kids, it's not the be all, end all.