WENDY ROBBINS ON PROTECTING OUR KIDS

‘My children are 7, 9, 12. They singalong to pop song lyrics like “‘sex in the air, I don’t care’. I don’t want them hearing this stuff; they don’t have the emotional maturity. Can’t the broadcasters give a lead here?’

 

[Image courtesy of partymonstrrrr via Flickr.com ©©]

I love pop music and so do my kids. And I’m no prude – sexual innuendo in music is fine by me – it’s always been there. But I object to graphic sexual language in mainstream songs. Especially when it means my children aged 7, 9, and 12 only have to listen to the charts to hear and sing along to the latest Lily Allen hit “I know you be getting so horny, cause you be sending me texts” and “she’ll be waiting on me naked with one of my chains on…” Or the Rhianna hit loved by kids everywhere: “Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me”. Now, this feels really wrong, but there doesn’t seem much I can do about it.

I’m not calling for any kind of censorship, just a sense of responsibility. I don’t want my kids hearing this stuff; I want them to stay innocent for as long as possible. Can’t the broadcasters give me a hand here? Instead of bombarding the kids with in-your- face sexual lyrics in the mornings, afternoons, weekends – in the car, in the supermarket, in the café? Given that I’m already trying to police what my kids see on television, on the internet, on mobiles, on music videos, can’t they collectively bring in a “watershed” on the radio so there is at least one place children aren’t exposed to these explicit lyrics?

Kids listen to an average of 2.5 hours of music a day – for many it’s the very air they breathe - and I reckon these lyrics must have some effect on their behaviour. We’ve created a culture that teaches girls their value to the world is in their breasts and butts – glorified as “lady humps” in one particular song my kids love – and leads boys to have unrealistic expectations of women.

Studies have found a strong link between exposure to sexual media in music and early sexual activity. It may be all subconscious but there’s a drip-drip effect. I can see just by looking at some of the social networking sites, that young teens are using songs’ sexual lyrics to describe their 'status' on the site. My 12-year-old daughter, and her friends, are obsessed with the way they look – and they all want to be ‘sexy’. They know far too much too young; and they don’t have the emotional maturity to deal with it.

Ofcom have recently reminded the BBC and commercial radio broadcasters to take extra care when children may be listening. They’ve published guidelines for clarifying the rules in the broadcasting code. But driving the kids home from school today my 7-year- old was singing along to Bruno Mars - “Tomorrow I'll wake up, Meet a really nice girl, have some really nice sex; And she's gonna scream out: 'this is Great!'.

Ofcom’s guidance seems to mean little. What would mean so much more is if broadcasters themselves took the lead – and vowed to play adult material when only adults are likely to be listening.

 

 

 

 

ENDS

 

Image courtesy of partymonstrrrr via Flickr.com ©©

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  • I agree with Wendy Robbins,

    However one needs to be careful not to draw too much attention to the lyrics as children will soon move on to another song,they will however latch on to it if they realise it makes their parents squirm

    Not saying bury heads, just downplay ….or the “sex pistols” type marketing will make more artist jump on the bandwagon.

    Yes music videos seem to all portray the “booties at the beach” and x factor special guest do the same ,however quality will prevail when boredom sets in hopefully next year those wearing trousers exposing their pants will be the minority as a new fad take hold.

    Lets all take a deep breath and listen to some Luther Vandrossor West Life on you tube

  • Totally spot on. I also have a 12 year old daughter and not only am I concerned at the looks culture, but at the way boys may be communicating with or about her, and other girls due to the influence of our over sexualised culture.

  • Totally agree, my daughter is 14 and I despair when I hear her repeating some of the lyrics of the songs you mentioned. Some kind of watershed needs to be introduced. The artists themselves need to take responsibility and understand that a sizeable proportion of their fans may be below the legal age for sex.

  • Couldn’t agree more, Wendy. I actually censor what music my 13 year old has on his ipod though it’s hard to censor the radio apart from the off switch. My older 22 year old son has given his younger brother some great non-pop chart instrumental dance music to listen to as an alternative, (on the grounds he thinks the sexpop is rubbish in the first place) which he loves. The completely ruthless “sexplotation” of our kids is sickening, actually and as parents I think we have to be a lot more proactive rather than reactive in protecting them from this and the whole accompanying sexy-fashion and drink-drugs industry that really doesn’t care about damaging children as long as they make money. Sadly I don’t think broadcasters will take responsibility let alone give a lead as they like to push back the boundaries all the time and probably think it’s OK – after all pornography has more or less moved into the mainstream nowadays. You’re right, music has always been full of sex but with this wave of singers it is all so much more graphic and unsubtle!

  • This is a common problem and a constant “cry” made by so many parents I know , whereby music, film, publications and TV generally, (most of which can be controlled by some Governing Body but for some reason has not been adequately tackled) , exhibits what would have been termed quite rightly, some years ago as “x rated material”. All these negative aspects are flagrantly on display and have seeped in to our children’s psyche, creating a young society full of demands, superficiality and sexual inuendo, and these children not actually understanding the full implication of their thoughts and actions. Parents feel incapacitated and in despair as it is something out of their control, and yet these issues need to be tackled seriously with Government,Authorities, Schooling bodies and Parents alike, as it is too big for the family alone to take on. I am sure Wendy Robbins could have elaborated more fully on the issues children encounter……but with only 3 minutes to spare… this was a worthy start. Well Done.

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