03 July 2008

Clean kids and dirty music

I got my oldest son a little MP3 player. I've been loading it up with stuff from my library. Once a week or so, we talk over what he likes and doesn't like, and then I adjust what's on there.

This has been working pretty well. He is a big big big fan of Five Star Iris and Queen, which I can supply in volume. He is a big fan of hiphop, though, which I don't have much of. I have been thinking about how to address that. I didn't think fast enough. Last week, his player had some tracks a friend of his had put on for him that I spotted when I plugged it in for updating.

I have some serious issues with the malware-loaded booby traps she copied over that I sprang when I tried to listen to them on my computer. But that is a concern for a different forum.

What worries me is that he has been listening to some pretty raunchy and sexist stuff without any adult being aware of it. He has fallen in love with "Smack That" by Akon, for example. The chorus of that includes

... bend you over. Look back and watch me Smack that, all on the floor, Smack that, give me some more, Smack that, 'till you get sore Smack that, oooh. ... Up front style. Ready to attack now.
Oh, dear. He is 10. He says he knows the words are bad and just likes the way the music sounds, but the other day he was walking around singing it.

So what am I supposed to do about this? I can talk to him about it, even make rules, but I can't even tell him what in particular I think is repulsive about this without going into more anatomical detail than he is ready for. His friends are all going to be listening to it and are being shaped by it. I can't think of any magic wand at all.

He knows I am going to be keeping my eye on his library now, which doesn't mean much because he could buy a cheap one for contraband tracks out of his lunch money. I talked to him about it. I bought him the TLC greatest hits album and downloaded a mass of clean(er) hip hop and urban Karma tracks from PayPlay.fm. Mostly, I suppose I have to keep on top of it and trust that I am rearing a good kid.

This parenting gig is hard.

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