I’m constantly thinking about parenting, specifically, how to do it in a way that will “guarantee” that my son grows into a responsible, healthy, spiritual, generous, socially active, loving, compassionate warrior. There are times when the task is daunting, especially when I dare venture into the world of popular media culture.
Yes, I’m talking the world of “106 and Park”, the various music award shows, and lord help me, the radio stations with POWER, KISS, and LIVE in front. Each time I’m more distraught, terrified even at the thought that the young folk today are being “raised” on sex, sex, and more sex. Casual sex. Unprotected sex. Irresponsible sex. And my worst fear: Teen sex. They can’t escape it- the teenage musical icons: Rihanna, Drake, Lil Wayne, and even Miley Cyrus have ALL made sexually provocative and explicit songs and videos. It absolutely boggles my mind.
I’m sure we could all share anecdotes about young girls and boys reciting sexually explicit lyrics, simulating the infamous ‘stripper dance’ to the obvious delight of all within visual distance. I imagine we’ve all swapped stories, appalled by the mamas who let their young daughters go out dressed in ‘booty’ shorts and barely there tops, quickly passing judgment on their questionable parenting styles. How many of us were ready to storm BET after watching Lil Wayne, Drake, and whoever else perform “I wanna ….. every girl in the world” while those young girls came out on stage, dancing and performing for the audience? Yet since then Drake has become one of the biggest selling rap artists in the last few years.
I bring this up because media is a powerful cultural transmitter. Society’s values, norms, and even expectations are reflected in the music, film, television, and even social networking sites. Research shows that young people interact with some form of media for multiple hours everyday. They can’t escape it.
So I have a question, should we do everything in our power to keep children from interacting with media, in hopes to keep them safe from it’s influence? Do we stage local and national protests? Do we write letters? Do we boycott? What do we do?
Or do we even care?