Q: It seems a lot harder to keep tabs on what my children are listening to than when my parents were raising me. Back then our music came from limited sources, and the medium was visible and in plain sight. But children today can download and store thousands of songs for free on devices the size of a postage stamp. Any solutions?
A: It’s obvious that at the heart of your question lies an awareness that tunes can be “teachers.” When those “teachers” are conveying positive messages to our children, great! But when they’re spreading racy, misogynistic, violent, nihilistic, pro-drug themes and the like, to be a good parent means setting healthy boundaries. Most parents would have serious objections if a musician were to visit their home and promote these ideas directly to their children. And yet, objectionable messages often get a pass when they’re espoused via a melody.
Fortunately, it’s actually easier these days to know what lyrical messages your children are digesting since music fans have transcribed and posted on the Web just about every song known to man. Parents can simply type the artist and song title into an Internet search engine – and voilà. That said, even the most diligent “sleuthing” is no substitute for dinner and car conversations with your children about being media savvy. When it comes to their music choices, ask questions like “What are your favourite musicians/bands and why?”, “What do your friends listen to?”, “What types of songs are out of bounds?”, and “What constitutes a ‘good’ song?”
Finally, hook up their electronic gizmo of choice to your car radio or home stereo and listen together regularly. You’ll keep up to speed on your children’s music consumption, and – more importantly – you’ll be encouraging a process of discernment that can benefit them for the rest of their lives.
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