Impact of explicit lyrics on teens - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Impact of explicit lyrics on teens

August 16, 2006

Albany--If you listen to the radio, you know music isn't like it used to be.  Music today can be pretty racy and that might be harmful to teens.

A new survey shows young people who listen to music with sexual themes tend to have sex sooner than those who prefer other songs.

If you can't tell by the current chart toppers on the radio, it is NOT your grandma's music. Sexually charged lyrics fuel today's songs.

"Everything I have has a parental advisory on it," says teen, Andre Jefferson.  He loves his music, and admits the lyrics can be pretty powerful.

"It's influential to me," he says.  But experts say that's not always a good thing.

The title of a recent number one hit by Nelly Furtado says it all. It's called "Promiscuous."

"I think heavy exposure to these type of lyrics probably lead children to make bad choices about sex and choices they would later regret," says Lora Davis, a traumatologist.  She says parents need to pay attention to what their kids listen to because many songs send teens the wrong message about sex.

"It gives boys the message that they should relentlessly pursue females. It gives girls the message that they should be sex objects," says Davis.

Nowadays it's easy to walk into a music store and find most of the CDs with parental advisory labels, meaning the content is pretty explicit. But does that even matter to most teenagers?

"It really does. It's just a song.  It really depends on how they listen to it," says Jefferson.

Even with all the parental advisories you see in the music store, Jefferson says there are plenty of songs that aren't offensive.

"You have some music coming out now especially made for the teens," he says.

But as long as songs continue to carry a catchy tune, teens will keep listening despite the sometimes explicit words.

Researchers say about fifty-one percent of teens who listen to sexually explicit music have intercourse within two years versus twenty-nine percent of those who don't listen to those songs.

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