In today’s world, it is common to hear socially offensive language on the streets, on social media, streaming services and in some forms of modern music. While swearing is becoming more common and less taboo, the use of derogatory language or the act of swearing at someone, or about someone, is a form of verbal violence. It transgresses the usual rules of social interaction by impinging on an individual’s self-image and sense of dignity.
It is becoming apparent that some young people are being influenced by the language they hear. Proliferating the use of swear words can sometimes normalise, glamorise and desensitise their impact on children who may misunderstand the true meaning of some derogatory terms. While some students may use swearing or derogatory terms as a misguided attempt at belonging, others may use it simply because they are still learning how to moderate their language and are not accustomed to making adjustments to suit different situations.
Although many schools enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding swearing and derogatory language, parents need to also play an important part in implementing this approach. Parents and carers can be proactive in monitoring what their children are viewing or being exposed to. Discussing the use of words or the origin of some derogatory terms and gaining insight into the reason behind their child’s use of such language can help prevent inappropriate or disrespectful language filtering into the classroom or the school yard, which in turn helps to build more tolerant, safe and connected communities.
This Special Report offers guidelines to help manage a suitable approach when discussing the importance of respectful language. We hope you take a moment to reflect on the information offered, and as always, we welcome your feedback. If this raises any concerns for you, a loved one, or the wellbeing of your child, please seek medical or professional help.
To view the special report, please visit: https://bggs.qld.schooltv.me/wellbeing_news/special-report-respectful-language.