Social Question

RayaHope's avatar

Do you "dumb down" your conversation when there's a young adult in the room?

Asked by RayaHope (7448points) January 6th, 2023
47 responses
“Great Question” (5points)

Just an honest question looking for an honest answer.

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RedDeerGuy1's avatar

No, quite the opposite. Also, I try not to say NSFW things, when a young adult is present.

RayaHope's avatar

See that is one thing I have kinda noticed today. I have been seeing a lot of older NSFW questions that you guys have asked and I feel that you jellies have been not posting that stuff lately and I don’t want you to stop posting stuff just because me or other younger people are here. I can’t possibly speak for others here but I want you guys to do the stuff that you would normally do. Don’t hold back just because of us younger members.

I know I may be a little turned off by some of the stuff but PLEASE don’t let that keep you from posting stuff you want to post, this is your site too! I saw a couple old (BUT VERY FUNNY) posts here that I would like to see more of that kind of stuff. If I see things I don’t like or that are too adult for me I’ll just keep moving on. Okay?

janbb's avatar

@RayaHope This looks like a Meta question if you are talking mainly about Fluther. In my opinion, the culture and interests of the collective waxes and wanes depending on the members and their interests at the time. In the past, at certain times, we have had Jellies who were very interested in discussing sexual issues, now, perhaps because many of us are older and single, not so much. I don’t see it as a dumbing down but just as a current evolution.

If you are talking more generally, I don’t dumb down my speech or subjects when talking to young adults but I have been cautioned at times by my kids to be more careful with my language or topics to protect their kids. Since they are the parents, I comply with their wishes but I personally don’t think any topic should be off-limits when discussed in an age appropriate manner.

Zaku's avatar

I don’t, unless it’s, say, a Fluther post where the person asking the question seems like someone whom it would be best to answer in a certain way. And even then, it’s not usually so much because they’re young, but because of the way they’re asking what they’re asking.

(NSFW and dumbing down are two separate things, to me.)

JLoon's avatar


Usually I have to raise my standards.

But… how did you get in my room ??

RayaHope's avatar

This may be a personal problem that is only my fault. Sometimes I feel like I’m being overlooked and possibly rightfully so. Because I lack experience and knowledge of certain subjects that I wish I knew more about. I’m sorry I talk too much I think I may have overstepped again.

JLoon's avatar

@RayaHope – Let me put it this way :


We gud.


JLoon's avatar

@RayHope -

Nerr !

AhYem's avatar

It all depends on the content of the conversation and of the young adult’s nature resp. identity.

For instance, if I talk with my girl-friend, and my young wife enters the room, I lower down my voice. Two lives are on stake, you know.

I hope you know that I’m just joking here. Neither am I married, nor is my wife that much insane to kill two innocent people who’re just trying to find some joy in their lives…

cookieman's avatar

Generally, I don’t “dumb things down” around young people. In fact, as a college professor, it’s kind of my job to do the opposite.

Yes, you can deconstruct the material into digestible bites, as it were, but you are doing a disservice to said young people if you condescend to them.

On a vaguely related note, I also don’t like baby talk. If you want your kid to learn a language properly, speak to them properly. The content can be age-appropriate, of course.

As for Fluther, I don’t post NSFW stuff, so I don’t have an opinion on this.

As for you, @RayaHope — you’re certainly not the first mature and wonderful young person in the lagoon, but you most certainly are those things. Maturity is not necessarily linked to age and I don’t think any Jelly should underestimate you.

AhYem's avatar


I just learned another English expression.

“Dumb down” means “mute”, and that’s why I answered my question the way I did.

But “to dumb down a conversation” means something else, namely something like “turn a conversation from serious to childish”, and I didn’t know that meaning.

So, this makes me edit my answer a little:

I dumb it down only if the younger person doesn’t understand something that surpasses their intellectual capacities, and asks me to explain it to them. But I don’t do it for the sake of the conversation as such, because I want the younger person to give its best in order to understand something, although it isn’t dumbed down, because it would be a sort of underestimation of their intellect if I immediately simplified it, only because the person that entered the room was younger than us.

You’re all (or almost all) younger than me, and I still don’t talk to you as if you were minors.

jca2's avatar

If I’m with my teen daughter and her friends, I won’t discuss how I used to drink or the partying that we did, when we were their age, and I won’t talk about any sexual subjects. If my adult friends are there we will avoid those topics, if there are teens with us. Other than that, I don’t talk to teens in a simplistic manner.

Jeruba's avatar

Not at all. And I certainly wouldn’t on your account. You seem very able to hold your own in this setting. Age differences may deprive us of some common ground, but I think you do your part and more to make up for it.

ragingloli's avatar

Yo, listen here kid. I ain’t tryna talk down to you or nuthin, but like, you gotta understand that you ain’t on my level yet. You probs don’t even know what a bong is, let alone how to roll a J. So like, if I start talkin all fancy and stuff, you ain’t gonna understand me anyways. It’s just easier for me if I dumb down my language and use some basic slang or whatever.

And like, don’t get me wrong, I ain’t tryna be rude or nuthin, but if I start talkin all proper and stuff, it’s just gonna be weird. Like, who even talks like that anymore? It’s like, I ain’t tryna sound like some old dude or nuthin, but I just wanna keep it real and speak the way I normally do.

But like, I ain’t tryna be a jerk or nuthin, I just wanna make sure everyone can understand me and stuff. And like, if a lil kid like you is around, I just wanna make sure you ain’t gettin left out or nuthin. It’s just the right thing to do, ya know? So like, just sit back and let the adults handle things, alright?

Forever_Free's avatar

I never have and I never will. I do the opposite and want them be completely engaged in the conversation.
@RayaHope You have nothing to be sorry for. I love your questions.

RayaHope's avatar

Thank you @Forever_Free !
@ragingloli I literally see what you’re doing here and just cuz I can understand this don’t mean you’re right. Wait…oh you think you so smart, eh? lol

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I’m not going to say I don’t. We all “dumb down” conversations with people at times. It’s polite.

seawulf575's avatar

I dumb down my conversation not because of the age of the people but as it becomes necessary. Example: before I joined the navy I wanted to be a chef. I went to various military recruiters who all asked what I was interested in. I told them I wanted to go to culinary school. The marines and the army had no clue what “culinary” meant. I had to dumb down the conversation from then on.

RayaHope's avatar

I only dumb down my conversations with my cats since they don’t know what I’m saying anyway. Well that’s not completely true, I think they do know a couple things. Or maybe they are just dumbing this down for me.

gorillapaws's avatar

If there’s a young woman, under 18, I will watch what I say with certain topics to some extent. You don’t want to come across as a creep or have anyone get the wrong idea. That said, I won’t shy away from giving an honest answer, but I may try to be more delicate/nuanced in my response and word choice.

RayaHope's avatar

@gorillapaws but I may try to be more delicate/nuanced in my response and word choice That is NOT dumbing down that is being a gentlemen and YOU sure are!

KNOWITALL's avatar

No, @cookieman described it as deconstructing which I co-sign. But I rarely engage with young people unless they are independent thinkers, which I do find fun and interesting.

JLeslie's avatar

I dumb down my conversation when it becomes obvious the other person doesn’t know what I’m talking about and they appear to be getting bored, frustrated, or uncomfortable. That has nothing to do with age.

Zaku's avatar

@AhYem I don’t think “Dumb down” ever means “mute”. “Dumb” can be used to mean “mute”, but usually “dumb” means “not smart”.

To “dumb down” always means not to make a conversation “childish”, but to reduce its sophistication. In this question, RayaHope is asking if we do that for younger people, and/or if we make answers less sexually explicit when younger users are participating, but that’s not part of the meaning of “dumb down” by itself.


SnipSnip's avatar

It depends. I dumb down conversation online with strangers. I do not do so in front of a class or in a meeting or with my friends.

snowberry's avatar

For a young child, of course. Otherwise they end up feeling left out.

For an older child, it depends. Some conversations are simply better privately held between adults- for example issues of custody. Figure out where you both stand, then talk to your kids.

LostInParadise's avatar

I try, not necessarily successfully, to be as clear as possible. I avoid highfalutin (got to love that word) language, but I will also avoid oversimplifying if it misrepresents what I am trying to say.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t cuss around my grandkids but, as a teacher, no way am I not going to challenge them intellectually.

RayaHope's avatar

@Dutchess_III Yeah, you might be surprised. :)

Smashley's avatar

I code switch plenty, but it’s situational. There’s a lot of shitheads out there. Loud, aggressive, obnoxious people don’t need what I’m dishing so I don’t bother. I just say what I need to to not be near them anymore.

In work situations, everyone has a tendency to get friendly and personal with their co-workers, but I have to cut it off before I open up too much. There are some things people can’t unlearn about you. I guess it’s because I’ve always leaned toward professionalism and leadership. As I prepare to become an employer soon, I’m really going to have to watch my mouth. I think once your employees know about (blank), it’s pretty much over for you as a boss.

But none of this has anything to do with age. I size people up and figure out how much of the real me they can handle. Besides, young people are usually so wide eyed and eager that they’ll engage with whatever crazy shit you’re saying.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Might be surprised about what @RayaHope?

zenvelo's avatar

I don’t “dumb down” a conversation no matter who I am talking to. My girlfriend has a daughter with developmental disabilities, we don’t “dumb down” conversations around her.

If I state something that someone does not understand, I expect them to ask a question, and I will respond with patience and understanding. But I do not have the arrogance to assume another party needs me to mansplain something.

RayaHope's avatar

@Smashley Besides, young people are usually so wide eyed and eager that they’ll engage with whatever crazy shit you’re saying I am sooo guilty of that! I’ve fallen for several here that turned out to be really bad. I’m such a sucker.

@Dutchess_III You may be surprised that some young people aren’t as clueless as you may think about certain things and could show you a thing or two.

ragingloli's avatar

Maybe, but did you know this?

RayaHope's avatar

Okay @ragingloli I have NO idea what all that was about. But I have a feeling most people don’t know what that was about. :(

Entropy's avatar

I try to talk to kids like adults and then let them ask questions which I answer and break down as best I can. This has lead to their mom needing to remind me at times of their ages.

RayaHope's avatar

@Entropy ..say what now?


ragingloli's avatar

I personally witnessed that.
It went something like this:

Entropy: Alright kiddo, let me show you how to break someone’s neck. First, you want to grab them from behind, like this.

(Demonstrates by pretending to grab someone’s neck)

Entropy: Then, you want to twist their head to the side, like this.

(Demonstrates by pretending to twist someone’s head)

Entropy: And finally, you want to push their head down towards their shoulder, like this.

(Demonstrates by pretending to push someone’s head down)

Mother: (interrupting) Excuse me, but I don’t think my daughter is strong enough to exert the necessary force to break someone’s neck.

Entropy: Oh, right. Sorry about that. I forgot she’s only six years old. Sorry kiddo, you’ll have to wait until you’re a little older before you can learn how to do this.

Mother: (sighing in relief) Thank you for understanding. Let’s stick to more age-appropriate lessons for now.

Entropy: No problem. How about we work on some knife fighting skills instead?

Dutchess_III's avatar

@RayaHope I’ve taught in high schools. Those kids are far from clueless.
Why would you make such an assumption about me?

Pandora's avatar

What you call dumbing down, I call relating. I will generally have an average conversation but if there is a young person who is misunderstanding what I am saying then I may pause and explain it differently. You may call it dumbing down but I call it being clear. It even happens with adults. Hell, it even happens to me. Just read sometimes policy rules on games. So, confusing. I know the words but they become a jumbled mess the more you read, and especially when they go into IT jargon. It’s not that I’m assuming someone is dumb. I don’t consider myself dumb but I know without a doubt that I don’t know everything someone else know.

Caravanfan's avatar

@seawulf575 Did you ever go to culinary school and become a chef?

seawulf575's avatar

@Caravanfan Nope. I went into the Navy and became a nuclear chemistry and radcon person. It’s sort of the same thing ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

As a side note, did anyone already mention that some people don’t like the word dumb or phrase dumb down. It can be not politically correct and offensive.

Since dumb can mean mute and stupid, and a lot of deaf from birth people don’t speak, or don’t speak much, not because they can’t physically, but because they never learned to articulate well, the idea that someone mute is stupid isn’t received well.

I realize no one is saying deaf or mute people are stupid, but the hearing impaired and mute community feel it’s offensive and people who are now aware they are offended are also offended by it.

LostInParadise's avatar

I never use the word dumb to mean mute. I would not even be aware of this other use of the term if not for the phrase “deaf and dumb”.

JLeslie's avatar

^^My point is the use of the word now bothers some people. I’ve never used dumb to mean mute either. I’ve never heard it used that way ever, except for knowing the expression deaf and dumb, but deaf people are more sensitive about it because of the history of the word.

This is the constant battle with being PC, the intention of the speaker and how it feels to the person. No one in DC meant any harm to Native Americans by wanting their football team mascot to continue being the Redskins. They love their team.

longgone's avatar

[mod says] Moved to Social with OP’s permission.

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