Protecting young ears from the perils of a car radio
BY JUNE STRAIGHT World Scene Writer
Monday, February 04, 2013
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Driving with impressionable ears is a struggle.
On the way to school, I want to listen to the morning shows, but the hip-hop station is recapping the wretchedness that is reality TV, the pop station is doing a poll on how chubby Katy Perry looks, and the rock station is airing a million and one ads for erectile dysfunction aids. And behind me, my little girl is soaking it all in.
I finally catch a song I can sing along to, and we hear "cause your sex takes me to paradise ..." and as much as I love Bruno Mars, I can't help asking myself, why he couldn't come up with a radio version for that one.
Yes, when I was my daughter's age I knew all the words to songs like "Let's Talk About Sex," "I Wanna Sex You Up," and my personal favorite "Poison," the song where even if you don't know the all the words, you know when to chime in with "never trust a big butt and a smile."
Right now you're either doing the running man, while singing along to one of these gems, or you're asking yourself "where was her mother?"
Well, to answer those of you who did not grow up in the 1990s, my mother was in the front seat, while the local pop radio station exposed my innocent little ears to the root of the majority of the body issues I would have a decade later.
So now that I'm in the front seat, I'm putting a lot of effort into shielding my little girl from some of those issues.
Here are a few of the ways I deal with car rides with my kids.
This is my favorite approach, because it allows me to listen to what I want while my daughter is busy with something else. Usually it's a book, her tablet or the DVD player in the van. She's in her own world, and I'm in mine. It's a beautiful thing.
Then, there are those days when I don't want to be in a different world than my daughter. On these days, we pop in a pre-approved CD or MP3 (anything from Disney or Nickelodeon), tune in to an oldies station or just talk. This option does not work well in the mornings as neither of us are morning people and both of us suffer from mild bouts of road rage.
Probably not the best strategy, but sometimes a song is awesome enough to expose to little ears. Maybe I'll have some explaining to do about why Michael Jackson felt the need to clarify that "The kid is not (his) son," but the family sing-along makes it all worthwhile.
Choosing appropriate music
- Obviously a song laced with profanity is a no-no, but content is another major factor to consider.
- Watch out for songs that demean women. I don't know how many times I've had to change the station because some guy is rapping or singing about how lucky a girl is to be used by him. Or how, if she wants to benefit from his riches, she'd better shut up, look pretty and dance. When you're 21, you can ignore the words and dance to the beat, when you're 7 ...
- Pass on the sexy anthems. As liberating as these songs might be for a woman, they're a little too much for a girl. If your first instinct is to seductively roll your hips when the beat kicks in, it's probably not a good idea to listen to with your little one.
- Listen for drug innuendo. Molly, Sarah Palin, anything that comes out of Ke$ha's mouth - these should be red flags for parents screening music as they tend to promote a drug lifestyle. Also, listen for suggestions about how fun it is to be drunk or high.
- Materialism can be as bad as profanity. Try to skip over songs that praise big spending, and obsess over designer brands. Regardless of what your values may be on the subject, this tip comes in handy when your kid wants a Gucci belt to set off her school uniform.
June Straight 918-581-8331
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