The CBC recently discussed a report released by the American Academy of Pediatrics about the relationship between explicit lyrics and the behaviour of kids who listen to them.  In it, they imply that kids who listen to such lyrical content are negatively affected in the area of social development.  They say the effects are ‘profound’ and that their research that led to the report is ‘convincing’.  What the report apparently does not do is define a causal relationship between these two things according to the Media Awareness Network, a non-profit media literacy group from Ottawa. 

Thank goodness for such literacy groups as they point out the fallacies of such reports, produced and reproduced every couple years.  Think back to Tipper Gore’s successful lobbying of Congress in the 1980’s to have warning labels put on music CD’s.  She claimed she was only promoting consumer information but it was correctly perceived as dangerously close to promoting censorship.  It seems to me that every generation has its kick at the can with regards to challenging conventions, including musical ones.  But despite each iteration, there is really nothing new under the sun.  If anything, my worry would be about the lack of creativity in modern popular music. Lets face it, there is borrowing and there is stealing.  But that’s another battle…

There are so many factors contributing to someone’s behaviour (peer group, home life, economic status, etc) that these semi-annual reports that attempt to blame explicit lyrics always give me pause.    Explicit lyrics more likely reflect the latter, if anything.

To read the CBC article go to: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/story/2009/10/18/lyrics-children.html

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