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TV Toddler Cursing: A Teaching Moment or Just Too Far?
Olivia_WebMD_Staff posted:
An activist group has asked that ABC pull this week's episode of Modern Family , which features toddler Lily using an inappropriate word during a very public function.

While there is a lot of sex, violence, and foul language on TV these days, is targeting this particular scene taking it a bit too far?

Most of us who are parents have dealt with our toddlers or young children popping out inappropriate words or phrases they've heard from adults or other kids and found it a teaching moment.

What do you think? How far should we censor TV or are we responsible for where our fingers hit the remote?
3point14 responded:
The kid didn't even say the real swear when they taped it, she just said "Fudge".

Why would television, which reflects the society in which it is made, use less swears? People swear every day. I don't think it's appropriate to do in front of children, but Modern Family isn't a childrens show so they really shouldn't be watching it anyway.
sandygirl61 responded:
It is unfortunate that a toddler cursed on TV, but let's face it, kids mimick mom and dad all their lives. Some kids come from volatile relationships and all they hear is mom and dad cursing at each other every day. The thing that makes this stand out is, the child did it on national TV so the issue may become global now. Not saying it's right but it's not the end of the world either.
MrsUtterback responded:
I think it should be both. First off, the episode probably isn't as bad as the activists make it seem. The little toddler probably said it during a public function, and THEN got in trouble for it. It was probably just an episode about life, like all tv episodes, and in real life, sometime your kids will embarass you in public by saying things they overheard an adult say. I think both parents and the brocasting companies should watch what they are doing. The companies need to realize that children do really exist, and sometimes they will (whether it be by accident or a careless parent) catch glimpses at things on TV they shouldn't see. But, the parent also has a responsibility to monitor what their kids are watching. They need to be cautious of what shows are appropriate for thier children and the child's age group. I also think that activist groups need to look further into the issue before they start rallying because I bet over half of them hadn't even seen the episode and were just going along with everyone elses opinion.
chatley64 responded:
Wow! I am really feeling old. I will be 48 years of age this month. I grew up with the Brady Bunch, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Bionic Woman, Wonder Woman, Charlies Angels, etc.. on television. We had great entertainment on television without all the obscenities. Why does television have to now? What is the purpose? But..... 1st and foremost, parents have the ultimate responsiblity to protect and raise their children with morals and integrity. Ultimately, it is the parents responsiblity to monitor what their children watch on television. My concern are the parents of the little actors that don't monitor what their children are requested to play or act.
ewcollins responded:
I do not get it. How is using the expressions "F-word" or "F-bomb", or writing "f**k", any different than using or writing the actual word? We all know what it means. It makes no sense to me.
Anon_34374 responded:
George Carlin once said, and believed, that there is no such thing as bad words (paraphrasing). I have agreed with that, and added to it when I talk to my kids: there are educated words and uneducated words; there are words that make people listen to you, and there are words that make people turn away and ignore you; there are words that are appropriate for some occasions and inappropriate for others.

When we teach our children that f*** is a "bad" word and they shouldn't say it, why are we surprised (or angered) when they do? Human nature will (and always has) compel the child to use the word in order to assert their independence which is a staple of growing up into a mature, self-sufficient adult.

Instead, why not teach that f*** is often the word of choice for those who do not have the vocabulary to more effectively make their point (with their emotions usually driving the word choice). Not because f*** is a bad word, but because society has largely determined the word to be trash in the class-dominated world of language.

chatley64 replied to Anon_34374's response:
Wow again! You said that beautifully. I wish I had thought of this as a response when my children and their friends were growing up. I have said similar, but not like you said it.
sherri214 responded:
I agree that unfortunately there is a lot of sex, violence, and foul language on TV these days, but they are not coming out of the mouths of babes. I don't like foul language coming from anyone, but this is going a bit too far. What happened to the morality of our society? Soon we won't be able to watch anything on TV without dealing with something offensive. It's bad enough we have to deal with such repulsiveness from adults, but for God sake, keep our children pure!!! Let them deal with it in the privacy of their four walls, NOT OURS!!!
Anon_165920 responded:
What's the reason that we watch TV anyways? To get away from the stresses of real life, to just relax, to laugh? It seems that it is more to escape than anything else, so why do we want to watch something like that? Its something that we see in real life anyways... As for inappropriate words, I don't quite understand why they are put into what we watch so often... we certainly hear them enough in our everyday lives. I think that the TV stations should be more concious of exactly what they're putting on their station, and also realize the implications. Many times kids think that if TV says something that is MUST be right/acceptable, and I think that should be taken into account. That being said, parents can't be responsible for what's put on TV, but the CAN be held responsible for what they allow into their home.
tothebeach4 responded:
When taken out of context, of course it sounds awful that a "toddler was shown cursing" on a television show. I watched last night's episode of Modern Family and, as usual, thought it was hilarious. I'll admit it"026 I tend to cuss like a sailor. I didn't grow up in a house where there was an abundance of cursing"026 or any cursing at all for that matter, maybe that's why it's so, shall I say, appealing to me. I feel like"026 I'm a 31 year old woman, I have the freedom to say what I please within limits of reason"026 if I want to curse, I do it (but not in front of my mom, lol). Mind you, there aren't any toddlers around when I do. Neither are there any toddlers around when I watch Modern Family"026 a show not meant for young children - about the sometimes crazy, humorous stuff that goes on in most modern families (hence the name of the show). It's for entertainment purposes"026 not for taking lessons. People cuss, sometimes in front of kids (on accident, of course) and nobody is perfect. I'm the mom of a beautiful (almost) 2 year old boy (who is in bed by 8pm, by the way, as soon as Sesame Street ends and Elmo is singing his song) and there have been times I've slipped up in front of him (I promise, I do make an honest effort to watch my mouth)"026 thank goodness, he hardly ever is paying that close attention when I do. But if he were to let a curse word fly out in public in front of a million people"026 truthfully, I will probably laugh (while trying NOT to laugh, of course)"026 this is life, people"026 it happens to us all. Kids say the darnedest things. It's how we recover and correct them that makes the difference. And really"026 I don't care if you think I'm a bad parent for laughing"026 I promise you, I do not.

In the show, the toddler thought one of her daddy's was sad (he was crying during a wedding ceremony), so she said the curse word to make him laugh"026 it was meant to be sweet, not that she was saying the word because she knew what it meant. She just knew that it made her daddy laugh, no matter how wrong his reaction was. That is all"026 no reason to make a big deal of it.
rachael67 responded:
First, I want to applaud Anon_34374....I agree totally about giving "power" to a word by stating it is a dirty, bad word! Wow! What kid won't delight in using that "power" in the most inappropriate moment???! Rather than call it a "bad" word, I simply stated it was not the correct word..and would tell them what the proper word was. No problem.

As for the root of this discussion, however, I am amused!
I keep trying to picture the "god of what is right and what is wrong" in his big chair at the Palace of Broadcasting (I understand that he has several other residences as well such as the "Palace of What is Politically Correct," etc), and deciding what words are okay and what words are naughty! Hmmm..." 'A**' is okay, but not 's**t'! " Such responsibility!!

And what really puts this charade over the top is that most times when a play, movie, book or tv show is "condemned" by the "good people," it usually has not even made its debut! Rumors begin and the righteous leaders take up the flag of their religion, their patriotism, or whatever it is they hold most sacred (usually their own agendas!), and all the little lemmings fall in step!

PLEASE....When are we going to start using own own minds? Investigating and knowing what is truly happening before we freely and happily jump onboard somene else's bandwagon???!!! For pity's sake...Isn't this the way every dictator assumed power: By riding a wave of fear and innuendo and hate until the general public slowly surrendered their thinking process to them? Why not? It's so much easier than actually laboring over an issue...Than having to make our own decisions. Right?

In this episode the child DOES NOT SAY THE WORD!!!!!!!!!

To quote the Bard: Much Ado About Nothing!!!!

Okay...I'll step off the soap box now...Next?

tothebeach4 replied to tothebeach4's response:
Not sure what is with all the "026" in my post... but you get the idea
tothebeach4 replied to rachael67's response:
Where's the "like" button on this thing?!
monamia responded:
I saw the episode of Modern Family and I'm surprised that some of the comments to this topic now are about the horror of having the little actress say the word. As others have already pointed out, the actress DIDN'T say the word. They just made it look like she did so the character could say the word (filtered out) and the family could respond with humor or horror.

Having just gone through this with my 4-year-old granddaughter, I thought the episode was funny and a relatively accurate portrayal of how this happens in families and how different family members handle it.

My older son had to leave the room for about 15 minutes because he couldn't stop laughing when his daughter said it, so my daughter-in-law got to have 'the talk' with their daughter. Coincidentally, soon after that she was a flower girl too. Thankfully, no f-bombs there or anywhere else since.

We all watch tv for different reasons. I also grew up in the era of really unrealistic, escapist tv and I liked it at the time but I much prefer today's fare with their more realistic representations. No one is forced to watch any of them and we should all be making choices for our children.

This is a show about all things family-related and this kind of thing happens. The furor over this one episode seems very misguided to me. I've always been more horrified by the sanctioned portrayal of glamorized violence (not that I mind shows which have violence in them as long as it's realistically portrayed, including the aftermath of violence) than something like this.

P.S. Well said, Rachael!

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