The types of to which music one listens and the movies or shows one watches can affect people in ways they not expect.
However, avoiding media with foul language may not be beneficial to those who do not wish to have that habit.
Psychology has showed the profound effects media exposure has on behavior, especially children.
Brittany Burgos, senior psychology and sociology double major, said that an individual who is exposed to foul language is more likely to adopt the usage of foul language themselves.
“The longer they are submerged in that sort of environment, the more that they are going to question it. ‘Why am I using this modest language again? How come foul language is so bad?’ They start adding onto those questions and eventually they will find a way to break loose,” Burgos said.
However, psychology also indicates that sheltering people from foul language in media may actually cause them to adopt it over time.
Dr. Nathan Iverson, program director of industrial-organizational psychology, said it is better to expose a person to something and explain the pitfalls of embracing it as opposed to sheltering someone with no explanation.
“There is a term in psychology called attitude inoculation,” Iverson said. “If I want someone to have my perspectives, one of the worst things I can do is shelter them. Because as soon as they hear a strong counter argument, they will change their mind. However, if I give them the best counter-arguments the other side has and walk them through why I still believe what I believe, that is so much more effective.”
This can apply to the use of foul language in music, movies, social media and television shows. If the goal is to not use foul language, it is best to know why that is the goal and have arguments for that choice.
The evidence seems to indicate that completely sheltering young people from foul language does not necessarily mean they will not use it. It could even have the opposite effect on someone.
The best approach is to explain the implications of actions to someone and to give reasons why a certain behavior is not the best choice for a given situation.