So, the recent study out of Brigham Young University regarding profanity in Young Adult literature struck a chord. Prof. Sarah Coyne analyzed 40 books on the YA best seller list and found swearing characters were often portrayed as attractive, popular, and wealthy. In other words, the kind of kids others tend to be drawn to and emulate.
If parents are concerned about what their children are consuming in popular media, it’s easier to turn the TV off than it is to pre-screen the books they read. As I’ve noted previously, some books capturing young readers’ attention have completely inappropriate content, and I’ve tried to point this out in reviews.
Consequently, I think the best advice for parents concerned about the content their children are reading is to pay attention to reviews. Browse the Amazon reviews for popular YA books, do a Google search for blog reviews on a particular title. Several teen lit books have remarkably dark elements, including graphic and abusive sexual content, drugs, suicide, bulimia, and other topics that parents may need to monitor and discuss with their children while reading. It also doesn’t hurt to crack the covers of the books your kids are reading now and then. Some titles are remarkably enjoyable, even for older readers.
Certainly, many teens are able to handle adult content in literature better than others. But the occasionally obscene and graphic material in some books marketed to younger adults may fly under many parents’ radar.