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Turn it down?

Cindy Ramunno

Dr. David Walsh is the president and founder of the National Institute on Media and the Family in Minneapolis. Psychologist, educator, author and parent of three, Walsh writes about parenting, family life and the impact of media on children and teens. He has written eight books, including the national best seller “Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen.” Here is an excerpt from Walsh regarding music that kids are now listening to and how that music affects them: “Although research shows that the average kid spends as much time, if not more, listening to music (from a radio, CD player, etc.) than he/she does watching TV, music does not have nearly the impact on behavior and attitudes that visual media do. Perhaps this because kids often use music as a background medium while engaging in other activities. Whatever the case, extreme lyrics seem to significantly affect only children who are already angry, depressed or suffering from other important risk factors.”Walsh continues: “All of this is not to say that parents should let their children listen to whatever they want whenever they want. Here are some suggestions for trying to keep music from becoming a divisive issue in your family:1. Avoid making music a battleground.2. Be realistic. You might want to forbid your kids from listening to anything offensive, but you cannot realistically stop your kids from hearing songs on the radio or listening to CDs with friends.3. At the same time, be clear about what you will and will not tolerate in your home.4. Stick to value-based reasons for your objections rather than sweeping labels. Instead of calling some music “trash” say you don’t want to hear certain music because “it objectifies women” or “glorifies violence.”5. Let your child know that you realize that you can’t stop him/her from listening to such music, but the rest of the family does not want to hear it. The whole family doesn’t have to sing to the same tune all the time, but if you take a sensible approach to letting your kids have musical independence, you will be more likely to have family harmony.” For more information on how media affects kids, go to http://www.mediawise.org.Vail, Colorado


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