THOSE who know me will snort loudly when they read this, but I hate to hear bad language around kids. Really.
I add the ‘around kids’ disclaimer because, I know you’ll find this hard to believe, I can be prone to a pressure-relieving, potty-mouthed rant at times, (mostly) in adult company. From my experience, journalists rank high among the most frequent users of caustic language on earth.
My own folks were very strict about us not using bad language, even though they were partial to the odd minor cuss, mostly “bloody,” to emphasise a point. They were allowed to swear, because they were adults. We never really questioned it (and made sure we swore out of earshot).
Imagine my reaction when I overheard one of our older children describing something using a swear word. It wasn’t one of the very, very worst words (rhymes with ‘ditty,’ since you ask), but he got sent to his room and reminded at length about his vocabulary.
A few days later I heard our older boys talking with their friends on Xbox Live, where they have a headset and can talk to each other as they play. I listened in.
The language was shocking, and they didn’t even seem to know the meaning of most of the words they were saying.
“Don’t their parents tell them off for that language?” I asked, only to be told that many of their friends had their games consoles in their bedrooms and their parents didn’t know they were playing, let alone who they were talking to, or what they were saying.
This was further confirmed when I was doing my exercise workouts on the Xbox Kinect, after 10pm, over several nights. Every few minutes I’d get on-screen messages from their friends, imagining that either Jed or Dougie was playing, asking them to connect. This was between 10.30 and midnight on a school night!
We may be aware of the risks our children are exposed to over the internet, and monitor their computer use, but do we have clue what they’re doing on the games consoles in their bedrooms?