Cussing: the language epidemic of the youth

Serena Fink, Reporter

It’s heard on the radio, it’s heard on TV, it’s used when angry and as a joke but inappropriate language is being heard all over Puyallup High School.

“At least once a day I will hear something inappropriate in the hallways and that is simply once too much,” Principal Jason Smith said.

The use of inappropriate language isn’t for everyone.

“I believe swearing is derogatory and rude. No one that I live around uses bad language. I find it most disrespectful to swear at someone,” junior Emily Hurst said. “So [to not swear] is respect for me and other people. I also don’t want to get into a habit of it.”

Some people think, if used properly, a bad word here and there is harmless.

“Cussing is not bad I would say, especially in my perspective because as long as you are aware of your surroundings it should never be a problem,” junior Kenvaze Sidhu said. “If you see a teacher in front of you or see your grandparents in front of you know not to cuss.”

Inappropriate language is getting more causal along with other aspects of society.

“Our language does seem to be growing more casual and I think social media and digital communication have contributed to this.  At the same time, it’s still important to know how to spell, write and speak well,” Professor and Associate Director of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University  Bruce Pinkleton said. “I was talking with a friend who runs an advertising and public relations agency.  One of his clients complained to him that his employees were misspelling words and making grammatical errors in their e-mail messages. My friend had to have a staff meeting to address the issue.”

Cussing has become a part of the culture and daily language.

“People have grown up in environments where it is used often. Sometimes they don’t even know what it means. It’s become a habit and part of the culture,” Hurst said. “I’m sure a lot of people swore back when our parents were in school but I think now a lot of people pick up words the more we use them and people become so used to it.”

Bad language not only comes from listening to peers and family but from media sources in the world today.

“I think the problem is in television and radios. The vulgar language has become very casual. And it has become for a lot of people just a part of their natural dialect,” Smith said. “How they speak naturally will have cuss words mixed in. It is very unfortunate that it has become a part of our language.”

Even from those who do cuss there has continued to be some restraint on the right time and place.

“No [it’s not okay to swear in front of younger kids] at all. I believe that I shouldn’t be the one exposing bad language to the younger kids, I don’t want to hold that responsibility of being the guy who taught them a bad habit,” Sidhu said. “So I should not be to blame for cussing if I do not bother other people or introduce it to other people. If people do find it offensive they can simple acknowledge to you that please don’t do this or say that in front of me. And then it would be my job to say okay.”

Inappropriate language is not applicable to success, according to Pinkleton.

“A lot of adults and young people swear casually and it’s inappropriate in professional settings. I teach in an area with a strong professional application.  It’s important for my students to understand this and to act accordingly.  As an employee, you represent yourself and your organization when you speak,” Pinkleton said. “It’s important to communicate respect and confidence in this environment, whether you’re dealing with your boss, a client or members of the media.  When you’re with your friends, how you speak is up to you.”

High school has come to breed this language of cussing and its many sides but it is important that it’s realized exactly what happens when bad words slip out.

“As high school kids, as we get into adulthood, it is important to realize that we have an influence on others that are younger than us. So whatever we say they look up to us and it is important to realize what is coming out of our mouths. They are influenced by us,” Hurst said. “And when outsiders come here and hear a lot of people swear it looks bad on us as a whole. It is just disrespectful. ”