Q&A: Monitoring their music intake


When I drive my two children (one teen, one preteen) to school, sports or music practice, or just about anywhere, I’ve usually got the radio on — always to something positive. My children say that my station choices are boring and my music is “lame.” As a result, just recently, they’ve both resorted to earbuds and listening to music via their mobile phones. At least we don’t argue any more about what’s playing in my car. But I can’t say I’m really comfortable with this new arrangement. What say you?

Answer: We want to remind you that while you’ll have many years down the road to listen to your favourite radio stations, you only have a few short years left with your children. So turn off the radio, insist that your children unplug, and enjoy some old-fashioned conversation.

Meanwhile, it’s always a good idea to have family listening guidelines. First off, make sure your children know that only music that is positive, inspiring, encouraging or at the very least “neutral” will be allowed. Nothing racy or risqué. Nothing glorifying drugs or violence. Nothing hopelessly wallowing in gloom and pain. To facilitate that, make sure they understand the research linking troublesome music lyrics to negative attitudes and behaviours (easy to Google). Next, be sure to listen to what they’re listening to. Check out the music they’ve downloaded. If they utilise music apps such as Spotify, take time to lend an ear to tunes from their various station picks. Finally, talk to them about listening at an appropriate volume level. In fact, listen in at the levels they’ve set. What your children consider acceptable may actually be damaging their hearing­ — a disconcerting trend even among teenagers. 

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