I grew up in the Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, N’sync and Spice girls era. Around that time music was still somewhat decent. A parent could let their child listen to Spice Girls without having to think too deeply about the lyrics. Music wasn’t so sexual, and violent, and the celebrities weren’t drugged out, making sex tapes, and checking in and out of rehab. In other words music was relatively safe in terms of the more mainstream pop music.
Something happened since then…
I’m not sure if the music industry just picked up a lot of artists with tons of baggage and issues, or if people started idolizing the wrong music artists, but within the last 7 years I’ve seen a definite change in music. Especially mainstream music. Even beyond the fact that most of it is silly, has no real lyrical meaning, and talks about the same things(namely getting drunk, having sex, and/or partying), lies the fact that it seems that younger children are becoming exposed to raunchy music earlier and earlier.
There are specific mainstream stars that come to mind when I think about raunchy music–Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Ke$ha, and Miley Cyrus(yep I’m listing her). And yet ask a 5 year old who any of these artists are and many of them will KNOW exactly who they are, what they sing, and EVEN the lyrics to their songs.
Case in point:
-My 3 year old God Daughter knew the lyrics to Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”–and if you haven’t heard the song or listened to the lyrics I suggest you did. Needless to say my boyfriend was visibly upset that she knew the words to such a crude song.
-At the mall I heard a 5 year old singing Miley Cyrus.
-Last year (I don’t remember the place) but I heard a little girl–under the age of 8–singing Poker Face.
It’s sad that what’s on the radio for children these days is either meaningless songs(Justin Bieber’s “Baby”) or songs that are just too “grown” for those under 10(Rihanna’s “Rude Boy”).
In addition, these artists’ lifestyles, and bad decisions are now on public display. Go to the supermarket and a child can see the cover of US Weekly magazine with risque pictures of Lady Gaga. Turn on the radio and we’ll hear about how Lohan is back in Rehab. Watch television and see pictures of Rihanna with a black eye from Chris Brown. Get on the internet and see pictures of Miley Cyrus gyrating and stripping on older men. So children are not only exposed to music that is less than appropriate, but they’re also exposed to these celebrities poor life style choices.
I love Gaga. I admit it. But I’m of age. I wouldn’t want my 5 or 6 year old singing poker face. And I certainly wouldn’t want my 7 or 8 year old singing “rude boy”. That’s just me.
How many parents monitor what their children listen to on the radio? And how do you evaluate which songs and artists are okay to listen to, and which ones are not?