Dad and contributor Rob del Rosario shares his thoughts and tips on explicit content in lyrics and music videos, and how parents should provide proper monitoring and explanation to their children about these.
As of this writing, number three on the Billboard Pop Music chart is Grammy Award-winning artist Cee Lo Green’s extremely captivating “F*** You”, and I’m sure everyone knows what the asterisks stand for. Radio versions replace the expletive with the word “forget”, but no matter how you sugarcoat the lyrics, the line “I had to borrow, beg and steal and lie and cheat” are still in a verse, along with a message that conveys that money is the only meaningful thing in one relationship. Charting as well at number one is the controversial Lady Gaga with “Born This Way”, equally catchy but with a positive message to boot: “I’m beautiful in my way, because God makes no mistakes”.
Young children aged three to six do not always understand what is being said, but we must make a conscious effort to screen out inappropriate words because the kids will catch up eventually. Mind you, this is not limited to modern music only.
The great opera classic “O Fortuna” is melodiously dark and may even terrify young audiences. When translated from Medieval Latin Goliardic, it contains the haunting words “Fate strikes down the strong man, everyone weep with me”. So pundits that declare all forms of modern music to be malevolent and wrong have the same cardinal ideas as those who pronounced rock and roll as “the devil’s music” back in the 50’s. By this comparative, the idea that new music corrupts is debunked – well, almost.
A study made by the U.S. Department of Education concluded that children involved in instrumental music performed better at mathematics by the 12th grade. More interesting is the fact they later found that even non-instrumental genres contributed to intellectual growth. This only proves that it’s not the genre but the message that we should be concerned about. Some rap music, for example, presents misogynistic ideals such as objectifying women. Psychologists would agree that without proper monitoring and explanation, music may encourage unbecoming behavior and disrespect toward young women, and make young minds think that this will make the opposite sex genuinely like them. Again, not ALL rap music is filled with these messages, in the same way that not all classical music, as exemplified above, stimulates a child’s intellect. Parents need to listen to the message and determine if this is appropriate for their kids. Trivia: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote a party ballad called “Lech Mich Im Arsch” or in English: “Lick My A**”.
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