Study: Kids Swearing Earlier Than Ever

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Getty/Stuart McClymont

The other kind of potty training? A recent study claims that foul-mouthed adults are to blame for an increased number of children using curse words at earlier ages – some at 2-years old.

Information presented at this year’s Sociolinguistics Symposium in the U.K by researcher Timothy Jay revealed a disturbing correlation: A rise of vulgarity among adults has lead children to curse at earlier ages than ever before. “By the time kids go to school now, they’re saying all the words that we try to protect them from on television,” Jay told the Montreal Gazette. “We find their swearing really takes off between (ages) three and four.”

(More on Time.com: Top 10 Things Today’s Kids Will Never Experience)

Three and four? According to research recorded over the past 30 thirty years, more kids are using vulgar language, and at younger ages. Though Jay says today’s words of choice are no worse than traditionally popularized profanity, his research did show children as young as two using profanity – including the f-word. Jay says the blame goes to adults, who have upped their swear count as well. Jay told the Montreal Gazette his research indicates that two-thirds of adults with no-swear policies for kids, break their own rules.  “As soon as kids can speak, they’re using swear words,” Jay told the Montreal Gazette. “That doesn’t mean they know what adults know, but they do repeat the words they hear.”

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