I’m having another parenting dilemma. It involves music and what singers and groups are appropriate for my children’s ears and eyes.
When I say children, I’m mostly referring to Helen, who is six. Toddler Adams is still a bit young to be influenced by music videos and risqué lyrics. It’s not quite the same for her older sister.
This has been an issue I’ve been aware of since an old work colleague banned his pre-school aged children from watching MTV. He and his wife took this measure after discovering one of their kids gyrating around the living room replicating the kind of dancing you might expect to see in a lap dancing club.
I’m also aware that some of the older girls at Helen’s school are being pressurised by their peers to like the music of One Direction. Needless to say, it’s not the awful (so-called) music of One Direction that bothers me, but the fact these kids feel such pressure and are being mean to classmates who don’t wish to join in.
It kinda came to a head over the weekend when Helen returned home after a swimming lesson. Some music was on the stereo and she asked me to turn it off and put Shake it Off on instead.
It was a song she’d heard on the car stereo on the way back from the pool. I had no idea who the artist was until my wife told me it was a Taylor Swift song. Aware that Swift’s lyrics and image are somewhat cleaner than Lana Del Rey or Lady Gaga’s, I put it on YouTube and watched the video with her, just in case I had to leap in and stop the song.
Aside from a brief clip when swift is dressed as a cheerleader she didn’t reveal any flesh and the lyrics were clean. The video featured some amusing and wholesome dance moves that Helen was keen to copy. Phew, on this occasion all was good.
It won’t, however, always be this way. I feel very uncomfortable at the overly-sexualised way many pop videos are produced. It’s unnecessary and I don’t want my kids exposed to it.
More to the point, Helen is literate and like all kids her age knows exactly how to use a tablet computer. I could set her up so she is listening to the music of Taylor Swift but answer a knock at the door and return to find her listening to Cypress Hill or Cradle of Filth. Worse still, I may actually find her listening to One Direction.
Rather like television, it’s just one more thing I’m going to have to police. It just comes with the territory I guess.
There is, however, one irony to this tale. You’ll note I said that I was listening to music when Helen returned from her swimming lesson. As luck would have it she walked into the living room while I was having a retro moment and listening very loudly to some Jimmi Hendrix. A great musician, but not someone renowned for clean-cut living!
Like this blog? Well have a read of this post about using music to keep my children calm and relaxed, especially at meal times.
Pic credit; Eva Rinaldi. Reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0 agreement. For more information about Creative Commons and links to the agreements, please see my Disclosure page.