Should Magazines and Newspapers Be Allowed To Print Swear Words on Their Covers?

This post was written back in June 2013 for my now defunct The Squircle blog and as I mentioned it in yesterday's story about my "offensive" April Fool's Day prank I thought I would reblog it on this one. I mention our son as being 4-years-old and not being able to read, but nine months later that has changed. It's amazing how much development happens within nine months. It's like he's being incubated on the outside now...

Did you see the June 2013 cover of Cleo Magazine? A very happy pink haired Kelly Osborne smiled back at me whilst I looked at the half dozen large posters adorning my local newsagent’s wall. Then I noticed it, the headline that they wanted us to notice;

“WTF is wrong with Aussie bosses?”

At the moment we are spending our time (and money) on teaching our eldest to read. And he’s already noticing words around the place and reading them and pretty soon he’s going to start asking what new words he reads mean.

So how do I handle WTF when he asks what that is? Seriously, what the fudge were the editors of Cleo thinking when they put this on the cover? Okay, our four year old can’t read it yet, but I know the day that he develops a curiosity for learning more words, I’ll be getting asked what does fudge, ship, WTF and OMG mean when he sees them written. Yes I’ll have to respond to the enquiries for all of the “choice” words, phrases and acronyms, I am sure.

Now, I am not a prude. I listen to music that has swearing, but not when my kids are around. I watch movies and television shows with swearing, but not when my kids are around. And, I’ve been known to drop the F-bomb and other curse words, but again, not when my kids are around.

I am trying to protect them. In this ever changing world (of which I am actively trying to change as well) there are certain values that I am trying to hold dear. And exposing our kids to smut, filth and grown up stuff is not something that I want to do.

Am I wrong with this? Should we protect our kids or has Generation X (who are the publishers and editors of today) tapped into a level of marketing that Generation Y is lapping up; and that type of marketing is bringing in the money so why would they change this formula? And if I am wrong, and the trend continues, I wonder what Generation Y will be offering up Generation Z when they start earning the money to spend on magazines and connect on social media.

One thought on “Should Magazines and Newspapers Be Allowed To Print Swear Words on Their Covers?

  1. My 9yo daughter says ‘OMG’ all the time, to the point that her 5yo brother picked it up. It’s a term I never use, but one they have heard on the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. While ‘oh my god’ is not considered swearing by most of the entertainment media, I have always tried to avoid the term out of respect for the obvious deity being named, and as such I cringe every time I hear one of my kids use the term. What it finally took was to stop them one afternoon and explain that it was among the words I wanted them to avoid. Some words are not polite, and if you can’t say something politely, they probably shouldn’t say it. By now, we’ve addressed most of the ‘minor’ words which they are likely to hear on TV, and waiting a bit on the more infamous ’7 words.’

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