Your child’s brain is constantly being filled, like a sponge, with new ideas and kids absorb that information and form ideas and opinions about the world and how things work. The music your child is exposed to is a big source of these ideas and unfortunately not all of this information will leave a positive impact on their lives.
At a very vulnerable age children are exposed to messages in music that make smoking, alcohol and drugs seem attractive. They listen to songs about smoking pot and using Molly. Messages in music have a very strong influence, especially in adolescents whose brains are still developing and are still trying to define who they are and want to become. They won’t even realize just how much the music they are listening to are influencing their lives every day.
Did you know that one in three songs are anthems to the joys of getting drunk or stoned? Almost 80% of rap music mention alcohol or marijuana in the lyrics. Unfortunately rap music is not the only genre at fault; nearly 22% of country music and 15% of pop music sing about alcohol.
Some examples of lyrics in Top 40 songs that kids are singing along to are:
- Miley Cyrus, the former and very popular Disney star, made national headlines for the inappropriate and drug promoting lyrics she recorded to her hit song, “We Can’t Stop”, in which she sings, “Red cups and sweaty bodies everywhere/ Hands in the air like we don’t care…We like to party, dancing with Molly, doing whatever we want.”
- Blake Shelton in his country hit “Boys’ Round Here”, sings, “With the boys’ round here/drinking that ice cold beer…chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit”
- Music mogul and icon rapper Jay-Z raps about Ecstasy and sleeping pills as part of the New York City party scene in “Empire State of Mind”: ‘MDMA got you feelin’ like a champion/the city never sleeps but it’ll slip you an Ambien”
Parental engagement can limit the influences of the messages in music today. Monitor and limit your child’s exposure to music by listening to the music they listen to; set limits on how much music or music videos they are exposed to daily; have discussions about what is being portrayed in music videos and what their favorite artist’s new song is all about. Provide your children with the right messages to replace the wrong ones. Raise kids that are critical thinkers about these issues. Is it really cool to smoke cigarettes or pot? Is it really sexy to drink/get drunk? Talking to your kids about the messages they hear in music will make a difference.
Children whose parents monitor their exposure are at a lower risk of substance use.
Do you know what music your son or daughter is listening to? Tell us in the comment section below.