Find your filter

Alexandra Chertok, Staff Writer

I distinctly remember the first day of freshman gym class. 

It wasn’t because we did anything out of the ordinary. All we did was sit in attendance lines and talk about our summers. What shocked me was all the swear words I was hearing — why were words that had always been off-limits suddenly being thrown around so casually?

The only swears I’d heard in middle school were whispered in hushed tones or followed by a slew of giggles, and being caught meant a trip to the principal’s office. I wasn’t sure when the shift occurred, but it didn’t take me long to realize that in high school, swears aren’t as significant.

They’re thrown between words like commas and directed at everything from people to pencils while holding less meaning than the “umm” linking two thoughts. 

Unnecessarily using swearwordsmakes us sound uneducated, ignorant and apathetic. Teenagers already have a bad reputation for possessing these qualities and word choice plays a big role. Even the most intelligent and caring teenagers can create a bad impression with a few words, and we are only perpetuating the stereotype when we fail to filter our language. 

That’s not to say that people shouldn’t ever swear. Swearing has been linked to both stress and pain relief by activating your brain’s fight-or-flight response,but frivolous profanities sprinkled into sentences serve no purpose. When those words are overused, they lose their effect. Your body won’t react the same way to a curse that has been repeated too many times. This means the next time you drop your textbook on your toe, you won’t feel pain relief from the same four-letter word that you used a few minutes earlier to complain about how long it took your computer to load. 

It’s not just about preserving the power of certain words. Although most high school students don’t realize it, swearing can be seen as offensive, especially when directed towards a person. A lack of consideration for word choice can leave others feeling uncomfortable during conversations. To complicate matters further, many of our interactions take place over text, so what might seem like a few innocent words to the sender can be interpreted completely differently. 

And what the falafel, you have a whole vocabulary of better words to use.