Listen to the music your children like. Read the
lyrics and discuss them with your kids. But keep in mind that studies
have shown that many kids don't pay a lot attention to lyrics, so
don't put too much emphasis on the words of your kids favorite songs.
Broaden your kids' musical tastes by exposing
them to different kinds of music: jazz, classical, folk, country,
blues, show tunes, etc., through recording and live concerts. Show
them how the music they enjoy didn't develop in a void, but is a
culmination of many different earlier musical influences.
If your kids like music videos, watch with them
and use violent or sexist content as starting points for discussing
gender stereotyping and media violence. Talk about the role
of gender stereotyping plays in the marketing of female artists. An
examination of CD covers will help illustrate how the industry
continues to promote women artists as sex objects.
When your kids are young, you have the right to
ban music you find inappropriate from your house. Talk to your kids
about your decision and explain why you find the music objectionable.
Even if they disagree, your kids will probably respect your decision
if you explain your motivation.
Older teens will object to censorship of their
music, and they have the right to defend their viewpoint. Discuss
freedom of expression versus censorship, and try to come up with a
compromise that respects everyone's feelings.
When purchasing music for your kids, look for
Parental Advisory labels that warn of explicit lyrics. Keep in mind
that labeling is voluntary for recording companies, so you can't
assume that music without a label will be appropriate for all ages.
If a CD or tape purchased by your child has
objectionable lyrics and doesn't have an advisory label, return it to
the store. Most stores have a "hassle-free" return policy if
a parent disapproves of a child's purchase.
Ask music store staff for information about
specific artists. Most music store employees are very willing to guide
parents when they choose music for their kids.
Supervise your kids' access to music on the
Internet. The music and lyrics for virtually any song can be freely
downloaded from the Internet by anyone, regardless of age. In some
cases there are even additional lyrics that have been censored in the
Canada's cable music station Much Music has
strict guidelines regarding violent content, however the highly
sexualized music videos of many artists make the station inappropriate
viewing for children and even pre-teens. Parents should also be aware
that music videos are not rated using the Canadian TV Classification
Consider buying your kids music from Walmart ,
they do not sell CD's with lewd lyrics. Wal-Mart is so powerful in the
marketplace that artists are forced to sell CD's with the bad words
changed or bleeped out. You would be shocked how your kids probably
won't even notice. If Wal-Mart sells it then its won't have
any of the 7-words you can't say.
And finally, remember when Elvis Presley shocked
your parents with his swivel hips? Or the Beatles with their long
hair? Every generation goes thru this. Now may be a good time to pull
out the old pictures of yourself with your kids and laugh.