Making Sense

My Daughter Wants to Download Raunchy Music

Making positive media decisions in a split second is no easy task.
Sierra Filucci Editorial Manager, Ratings and Reviews | Mom of two Categories: Healthy media habits
Editorial Manager, Ratings and Reviews | Mom of two

I've come to terms with hearing my kids mimic certain iffy words they hear on the radio, but when my 8-year-old daughter asked me to download a few songs off iTunes for the first time, I was not prepared to deal with a song about oral sex. Yikes!

Here's how it started: Since this would be my daughter's first download, I wanted to be upbeat about the experience. Our family loves music, and I don't want to censor such an essential art form. I also knew I needed to quickly establish rules about how this music downloading process would work, so she and I would be on the same page.

So I told her she could choose three songs to download and that I needed to approve them first. The first was by Taylor Swift, whom I admire because she writes her own music and her songs are fairly innocent. The second was by Rihanna, who has a racy popular image, yet my daughter has zero knowledge of it.

But it was her final choice -- "Whistle," by Flo Rida -- that caught my attention. The lyrics include: "Can you blow my whistle, baby, whistle baby/ You just put your lips together and you come real close/ Blow my whistle baby..."

I sat there with my head in my hands, quickly running through possible scenarios in my head. I could say no to the song. She would ask me why. I would say that I thought the lyrics were inappropriate. She would ask why a song about whistling was inappropriate. Then I would either have to explain the metaphor, or choose NOT to explain, which would then just make her feel confused and curious, and perhaps even ashamed, which is the last thing I want.

Or, I could say yes, and not make a big deal out of it. But then she might start belting out the song during recess, and maybe the older kids would start laughing, and then maybe she would learn about oral sex from a 5th grader instead of a responsible adult. Ugh!

Ultimately, I decided to let her download the song, and I didn't make a big deal out of it. I figured drawing more attention to the issue would be the worse scenario. I also reasoned that since we've started listening to Top 40 radio in the car, she's exposed to all sorts of sexual innuendo in music (she probably thinks the song about whistling is one of the tamer songs she knows).

I look at listening to pop music with her as an opportunity to have discussions about topics that might otherwise not come up between us. If she knows that I like singing Rihanna songs just as much as she does, I hope she'll be more open to talking to me about the singer's persona once she does become more aware of the greater pop culture world. And the more I show her that I'm interested in her media choices, but not critical, the more sway I'll have when I really need to put my foot down.

How do you handle racy music and lyrics with your kids? Do you put limits on the radio stations they listen to or the kinds of music they can download?

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About Sierra Filucci

Sierra has been writing and editing professionally for more than a decade, with a special interest in women's and family subjects. She has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley... Read more

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Comments (137)

It depends on the case. A song explicitly about sex, like many rap and hip hop songs, should be avoided, but songs with slight sexual innuendo, like many classic rock songs, are fine in my opinion. Younger kids usually can't tell lyrics apart, much less try to understand them. Older children might ask what it means, leading to a moment of insight explaining your views and values. When I was little, I listened to many songs that had sexual innuendo, and half the time I couldn't even tell what they were singing about because of the British accents.
In my words, many adults today do not know what to do when they hear inappropriate music and lyrics. Adults and guardians with children should be given tools and education to ID inappropriate music and lyrics.
I really appreciate the article. As a man looking at starting a family soon it brings important thoughts to my mind. Having had a mother who was pretty extreme on the controlling I can agree that trying too much to limit your child's experience with the world stresses the parental relationship. On the other end a friend of mine mentioned recently that we absorb so much information at an early age. To quote him "teach your children before culture does." As a Christian, to me I think that means I have a responsibility to teach my child that we are intended to have a healthy sexual relationship and not "birthday sex." When it comes to teaching your kids, while it's hard to gauge what they're ready for, I think it has become increasing important to teach them at an early age as our world gets more efficient at imprinting culture patterns on them at an early age.
Unfortunately, our entire world has come to a point where mainstream music constantly has embedded and obnoxious wording and messages. It's nothing to run away from, really, but try your best. :)
I enjoyed reading about Sierra's experience with her daughter wanting to download music that was not age appropriate. I especially appreciated that Sierra did not label her viewpoint, parenting or choices as superior, better, more correct, "right" or anything of that nature. I am suprised so many people chose to word what they have to say in a manner that is judgemental, harsh or borderline nasty in a few cases. I was also suprised that so many people chose to address their comments directly at Sierra and proceed to lecture her, judge her and make all sorts of assumptions. The comments posted that did not agree with Sierra but were made with respect, in my opinion added value to the discussion. People that disagreed with Sierra and used words like ignorant, vulgar, irresponsible and so on seemed so confident they were "right" and Sierra was "wrong". I went downstairs to take a deep breath. I asked my daughter (age 12) her opinion about the situation Sierra was dealing with and we had a good discussion. We have discussed this type of issue many times before. I always learn something new, gain new insight and a better understanding of her world each and every time. I appreciate Sierra being willing to share even though it has opened her up to such a barrage of comments.
Exposing a 3 yr old to Playboy magazines is an unhealthy way to teach a child about sex. My children, at a young age, were 1st taught about sex by us parents sitting down with them & talking to them. Through the years they were taught that sex was given by God as a vehicle to express love between two committed married people. Outside of those boundaries creates hurt, feelings of being used, unwanted pregnancies, & a dishonor of the institution of marriage. Using Porn movies & playboy, etc teaches children that people are sex toys to be used rather than to be appreciated, loved, & respected. My kids were never ignorant about sex. Rather they learned at a very young age to appreciate a healthy view of sex instead of a vulgar one.
I thought God said sex was only for pro-creation? I'm an Atheist, so what do I know... and no, porn doesn't teach people anything, it's porn. I saw porn, but that didn't change how I treated my first girlfriend, who I eventually married, and still treat with love and respect, and not as a sex toy.
What if you had said that you had reservations about the song based on things you knew about the artist? You don't need to teach her about oral sex to teach her to be discerning about the people she idolizes. The two of you could research quickly who the singer is-- rule out. "Is this someone we should admire?" Your level of comfort with pop culture is much higher than mine, though. I think so much of our cultural messages are toxic to the development of healthy young women and men. I loved the post that mentioned how the mom talks to her kids about misogynistic lyrics-- other things should get your attention too-- violence, degrading, treating people as objects... I disagree that "making a big deal out of things" like that are bad. It's part of teaching your child to be critical of our culture-- what is healthy? what is true? where does this lead? what are they trying to sell me? etc. Discernment = wisdom = good.
I listen to Christian Rap a lot. If you are a Christian, try Christian rap. I'm so addicted to Christian Rap. I'm a huge fan of the song "Prayin' for You". It has perfect messages and an AMAZING beat. In fact, i'm listening to it right now. I TOTALLY recommend "Prayin' for You".
Funny. When I was eight, my mother NEVER cared if any music wasn't appropriate for me. She always let me listen to music, no matter how inappropriate it was; she's just doesn't want me listening to music groups she didn't like when SHE was little. I think you should know your child before having him or her listening to music, especially if the music is considered "family friendly".
To each their own. I personally do not let my 8 year old son listen to music that is intended for adults or teenagers (mostly because of the sexual/cussing inappropriate lyrics). He does not have access to the internet, no downloading music, he does not have an iPod or his own computer; however he does have a cd player/radio. Radio station set to K-LOVE, his father and I make him cd's he loves it, and we control what he listens to. We talk openly about music and why he is not allowed to listen to certain songs/artists. He loves music all genres country, pop, rock, alternative, spanish, christian, dance, classical and oldies. We aren't music nazi's...okay maybe we are but we don't want our son growing up too fast. TV, Movies, Music and everything else is over sexualized and glamorized. I love music I listen to everything I love hip hop and rap;however I listen to it on my own time, eventually my son will have full control over what he listens to... For now we his parents do.
What happened to just saying "NO" to our children? You took the easy way out, avoided a real conversation and said yes to something you obviously were not 100% sure about. In my mind it's akin to handing your child the condoms because well, "they're going to do it anyway", instead of teaching your child about abstinence and/or educating them on the consequences and responsibility behind their choices. There is NO WAY I would have ever let my 8 year old download that song. Just because she may not understand the full meaning of the lyrics, doesn't make it OK. Why are so many parents just giving in and taking the easy road? Parenting is not an easy job and we have to make tough decisions every day, that may not be popular, but that is our job. Our children are young only once, they have plenty of time to be an adult and deal with adult decisions and responsibilities. I say no and explain why including that it's my role as a parent to protect them. My children appreciate the boundaries and even at only 9 & 10 have told me that even though they are sometimes disappointed in our decisions for them, that they know we do it because it's what's best for them and that we love them. I am very disappointed in Common Sense Media for touting this as "Making Positive Media Decisions..." and frankly, find it irresponsible to do so.
"I say no and explain why including that it's my role as a parent to protect them" If you were my mom and you did that to me, I would just find a way to get my hands on music without you knowing about it. And as as I got a bit older I would think you were crazy for thinking that you were somehow "protecting me" for a few bad words and innuendo, stuff that I hear and talk about every day at school anyways. In the end I stop talking to you entirely about anything that is going on because you are crazy and you're going to flip out at anything I say, including telling you that I am going out drinking, because I know you'll say no and tell me you're trying to protect me.
If my daughter likes a song that I find inappropriate I explain to her why. I talk openly with my daughter about sex as well as why a particular song might be offensive to me. I came from the 80s and if a song offends me or I won't listen it, to then it's pretty bad. The main reasons why I guide my daughter from a particular song is because it might be misoginistic or over sexualized for the target audience. I also explain to her that the music industry like any other business is selling something, it's up to us the consumer to look at what is being sold and to decided whether it is right for us or not. I do not censor as much as I try to create a smart and proactive consumer.
EXCELLENT. I think that was the perfect choice as to how to handle that. By not making a big deal out of it, you're not drawing attention to it. There are certainly worse things to worry about than what's in the lyrics of a song, and kids are exposed to so much anyway between the internet and t.v., making a big deal out of something that they might not even think twice about otherwise would probably be worse than just letting it go. Kids are resilient and aren't going to be scarred for life by listening to a song, plus you can't keep them sheltered from everything until they're 40, either. As far as the whole "subliminal messages" theory, people have been hearing that since the 60's when they told us we could play a record backwards and supposedly get esoteric "Satanic" messages put there by certain bands. It was bunk then, and it's bunk now. Good call on how you dealt with this. ;)
I agree! Our kids don't grow up in a bubble and when did censorship ever work? We don't listen to top 40 stations at our house, but somehow my 9 year old knew Lady Gaga sang about bluffin with her muffin and taking rides on disco sticks. It lead to a great conversation - glad it happened! Better she asked me than her peers...
This story reminds me of the Soulja Boy song from a few years ago, "Crank That (Soulja Boy)". There were a LOT of kids running around singing the song and dancing the dance. In the song, Soulja Boy sings "Superman that ho'", which is an act in which after your female partner doesn't have sex with you, you wait until she falls asleep, then ejaculate on her back and press the sheet against the semen. When it dries, as glue, she will appear to have a cape like Superman. Despite that act called for in the song, lots of kids loved the song, and their parents let them listen to it. So, yes, I guess a whistle is a little tame. Walt D in LV
As a fifteen-year-old who believes this song is inappropriate for herself to be listening to, I definitely think you shouldn't let your nine-year-old daughter listen to it. It's called subliminal messaging, and it's absolutely a real thing. I believe one of the major problems of my generation is the music we subject our children to at a very young age. And, yes, your daughter may sing it at school, and she may be told what it really means, and then she'll either ask you about it, and you'll have to explain anyway or she'll just be emotionally scarred by whatever some stupid kid tells her.
Some of you guys are way to overprotective. If your kid goes to school and listens to any media at all, most of this stuff is already in their heads. Just keep it below Lil' Wayne/Eminem and you'll be fine. Just talk to the kids about not saying those things.
To some of the other commentors I first have to say that this is not an innocent song about being a referee. It's a either a convenient coincidence that Mr. Rida has officiated net ball or it sparked an idea from him, but it most definitely is a double entendre that any adult would interpret the way the OP has done. To the OP, it really is a dilemma, but I finally decided that if it makes me uncomfortable I should honor that, even if it means having a conversation I really don't want to have. I don't mean to say that you were avoiding such a conversation, because I can see that your ultimate concern was how it would affect your daughter and you did what you were most comfortable with. For better or worse, and for the very reasons you mentioned, I decided to start talking to my son about sex at a very early age. I really, really, REALLY would rather not have but I decided that a) I wanted some control over how the information was first presented to him, and b) I wanted to demystify it and give him the message that there's nothing to fear in talking about sex. So, when he was five we read a very simple book children's book that talked about bodies and normal feelings, and how babies are made. It did not go into gory detail, but gave him the basic information that any kid growing up on a farm has by that age. If he wanted to purchase that song, I would tell him I thought it wasn't appropriate for a kid his age (9) and if he asked why I would tell him the words are a metaphor for some grown up activities kids shouldn't be singing about and of course there is no way he could have known that (so he's not embarassed about wanting it). Again, that might not be the right call for everyone, but its what I would feel comfortable with and that's all any of us can really do.
Thanks for writing this Sierra this is an issue I question all the time. My parents were not the censoring type so every time I question whether I should permit my kids to do/hear/see something I feel like a huge conservative that I'm not. It's hard to tell my kids something is inappropriate without explaining why and giving them age inappropriate info. The other day my 4 year old was singing Hey Sexy Lady and I asked him if he knew what it meant and he said no and I left it at that. Sometimes ya pick and choose what to censor balancing the harm of censorship with the particular issue and that was the take away for me for me from your article - to make sure you as a parent think of the issues before saying no no no.
Thanks for writing about this, I have the same challenge. Some of the songs my kids wanted to download included lyrics and concepts that are inappropriate for our family. We sat down, and awkward as it was, we looked up the words and read them out loud in a normal reading voice. When they didn't understand what something was about, I told them. Suddenly, my kids realized they weren't interested in buying those songs anymore! I don't want to ban songs, because I think that leads to "sneak listening". I do want to promote open conversation, and discernment. I'm not merely concerned about "swear words". I'm concerned about the types of attitudes towards people and sexual relationships that are portrayed in some of the songs. I want my kids to learn to discern between content that inspires (perhaps like Firework, by Katy Perry), and songs that bring out more prurient interests (maybe Like E.T. by Katy Perry). I am trying to parent my kids toward certain goals and values, so I have to address what they are listening to because it is such a huge, but quiet influence.
You say that you don't want to censor such an important art form, but I would tend to believe that you do find material, whether it is print, TV or movies that you do deem inappropriate. I would like to think that you don't allow adult rated films or the such to be part of her everyday life, so why would you stop there? You have said that the material is raunchy, yet you let her listen and enjoy it while she does. If you find it to be so and not share that opinion with your daughter, you are doing nothing else but giving her your full blessing on that material, and when you do question her on it in the future, more confusing messages will be sent to her. Don't let the fact that it might be uncomfortable for you to address cloud the issue by side-stepping your responsibility as a parent. As a teacher I am very distressed by the thinking that you have also abdicated your responsibility to the schools to make that decision for you, and if your child is corrected at school for that situation, will you again sidestep your job as a parent to raise your child by not supporting school policies? This has much wider implications than just a song, because so many parents would not and do not like to make such disciplinary actions in their children's lives. So, you cave on the morals decision now and when you do correct her later, how do you expect her to understand when the foundation does not match the picture? As an educator we scaffold information (we don't teach Trig. before we teach Addition), and as a parent you need to build the same foundations.
I tell my daughter to question what the culture throws at her from billboards to books to food choices to movies to music. She's 8 year's old and does not mature enough to know what is an offense to her childhood yet. That's where I, as her mom and protector, step in. I tell her what's acceptable and unacceptable in our home. Songs like this are considered unacceptable due to Mom's and Dad's family rules. We don't listen to it either. She can hear this music outside of the home, but when she comes home she's going to get as wholesome and respectable a childhood as we can provide her. And she trusts us and we have excellent lines of communication open. I can say to her, "One day I'll explain why Mom and Dad find this song unacceptable, but for now, I'm just going to say it's not a positive message for a child. It's about adult themes." I try to fill my child with good, loving, appreciative, respectful, peaceful experiences and words. Thankfully that seems to be working and "filling her up." As for those who say it's a song about that sport, I say that's a naive assessment.
I am wholeheartedly with those who objected to the viewpoint expressed in this article. Part of parenting is holding the line on whatever your family standards are. In my view this mom simply caved in the face of actually having to tell her daughter no. Just no. That is not an easy thing to do but, having raised three girls to adulthood, I can say from experience that it needs to be done on occasion. That song is extremely inappropriate and I would be shocked to hear a young child listening to it or singing it. All the good reasons in the article seemed to me to add up to mom "flinching" when she actually felt she should hold firm and that is sad.
I appreciated this thought-provoking post and the fact you explained your rationale. No one tells you that once you become a parent, you will have to make so many split-second decisions. Even now that I've had time to reflect, I think I would do exactly what you did and for the same reasons. As the person who ensures that our elementary school's talent show remains "G- rated," I can personally attest to the fact that not only do most of the kids not understand innuendo, I've had to spell it out for many of the parents as well. Not making a big deal about the song was the most appropriate response for your daughter's age. As you pointed out in your subsequent post, she has already lost interest. And while I am appalled by how many inappropriate songs are played on the radio, even on more family-friendly stations, I'd rather have my kids hear those lyrics in my presence, where we can discuss them, than to have them introduced by their friends. As the kids have gotten older, I've been able to say simply, "It's a sexual reference." They don't generally ask for details, but if they do, I explain it. I am so grateful that we've been able to cultivate such an open and honest relationship. I don't think that would have happened if I had taken the because-I-said-so approach. Thank you for the post. I'm sure it has given many of your readers the opportunity to think this issue through - so they can be prepared when the situation hits them.
I don't see why kids should have so much freedom to access the internet any time anywhere. Kids are still learning right from wrong from parents & are not able to discern through today's trash. Our kids (at 8yrs.) only had CD players with parent approved CDs. Our teens (mom & dad too) only use the internet out in an open living room when mom & dad are home. No internet or TV in bedrooms. Our teens do not carry a cell phone to school. On MP3 players- music is down loaded together (teen & parent) & they get music from our family CD collection. As for radio/CD, all of us listen to Christian rock, celtic, jazz, classical where we all know the lyrics are healthy. Our kids were not allowed to have a facebook until 16 yrs when they were more mature & all passwords (parents too) are open not secret. Our college student, as an adult, is now responsible for himself, but he had years of training at home, so he knows what's right/wrong. You as parents are an example & responsible to raise your children with healthy minds, not consumed by unhealthy addictions to pornography & sex.
As a teenager, I'd say you are being overcontrolling and I recommend you be careful, because depending on your children, they may rebel. They may be listening to other music, having secret facebook accounts etc out of the home. If your teenager were to see pornography, do you think they'd become addicted? I don't. I'm not saying you should be allowing them to watch it, but you should be explaining to them how it's unrealistic and demeaning -- in case they're seeing it somewhere else. A side note- if your kids are happy and agree with what you've given them and are not wanting of anything else, please make sure they treat others with respect. I respect my peers decisions to stay abstinent, to not drink, to not swear. I will not swear in front of people who become uncomfortable, or parents. But something that is absolutely obnoxious is when people preach. I hope you have taught your children to ask respectfully if they do not want to discuss certain topics, and not shame the people they're talking to. It makes people dislike them.
Exposing our kids to music w/raunchy lyrics, porn, & nudity makes our kids wise & unsheltered? Rather, allowing it tells ours kids that it's acceptable. Communicating to our kids that watching porn & hearing bad lyrics, etc is a negative influence for everyone, AND then exposing them to good examples of music, books, & movies is teaching them to make good media choices NOT sheltering. If they hear bad lyrics, words, etc from peers - our kids have stood up to that knowing its wrong because they are UNSHELTERD TO THE TRUTH. I don't feel sheltered in that I didn't grow up seeing porn mags, watching porn movies, & hearing sexualized messages in music. Instead I was taught the truth about a healthy view of sex & the truth about selecting appropriate media. Guess what? I married at 21 yrs & had 3 kids all in a healthy relationship - all without raunchy music & movies in my life. And we've passed these values on to our kids. Teach kids the truth about sex & bad media without exposure to raunchiness & ill behavior = responsible healthy adults.
It's totally normal for kids to be curious about sex, and they're not going to be scarred for life if they do see nudity at some point in their lives before adulthood. Neither does it lead to unhealthy "addictions" to pornography & sex. When I was growing up, my dad had a subscription to Playboy magazine, which I was exposed to at the age of 3 or so (I'm a straight female, btw--not that it matters, but...) and viewed on a regular basis. I'm not addicted to sex, porn, or anything else in regards to that. Nudity isn't unhealthy nor is it unnatural. Being sheltered from the time you're born til your 40 doesn't help you deal with the real world. You can't put your kid in a bubble til they're 40 either--it's not realistic.
This post shows why Commonsensemedia is so important, for helping parents (and kids) filter so much that is thrown at families in the name of "popular culture." Sierra illustrates a valid conundrum - sort of like the situation when you are trying to control "potty talk" in a 4 or 5 year old. You can choose to overreact, or you can choose to let it slide and instead focus on introducing your kid to the wider world of musical choices. Even when your child is 10, 12, 14... your musical choices can have a big influence on what your kids decide they'll like. I also think that parents do have a responsibility to curate their kids' media consumption as long as possible. There's a whole world of great all-ages family listening out there from indie artists. Consult some of the Commonsensemedia archives for suggestions and visit sites like Zooglobble and Dadnabbit and KidsCangroove.com for more ideas. SiriusXM radio's "Kids Place Live" show (during the daytime) also plays a ton of great tunes that are all kid-appropriate and VERY COOL. Thanks for listening.
This sounds like the right path to me. I can remember as a 6-year-old belting out "Like a Virgin", Olivia Newton John's "Let's Get Physical," and just about every Prince song ("Darling Nikki," anyone?). I had no idea what those songs meant. My parents loved music and so did I, and they were happy to let me explore pop music. Meanwhile, they were raising me with a strong moral compass and a good sense of justice, feminism, etc. Just like I'm doing with my son, who downloaded "Thrift Shop" the other day. With the swear words. I talked to him about how it's inappropriate to use those words in public, and also about how they can be used in different ways, and when they're used in ways to hurt people, it's not okay. I'm pretty sure that exposure to pop music or not, he's going to grow up to be a pretty awesome, decent guy. Probably a hard-working, moral, sensitive, smart dude who's working to make the world a better place, like his dad, who's a hip-hop devotee. Because they're just SONG LYRICS. Lighten up, over-protective parents. What is this, Tipper Gore in the 1990s? Thanks for the article, I like pieces like this --thoughtful reflections on common parenting quandaries.
It's so great to hear from so many people who take their role as parents so seriously. That's something Common Sense Media stands for. We also stand for supporting parents who make thoughtful decisions about their kids' media choices, even if they are different from what we would do ourselves. As the author of this post, I appreciate hearing from those who agree and disagree with my split-second parenting decision, and who offer their feedback thoughtfully. The point of this post is to share my experience, and the things I learned in the process, and hear more about how other parents handle this very tricky situation. For those curious about how things have turned out, my daughter quickly lost interest in that song (thankfully), and we've had lots of discussions since then about what different song lyrics mean, and my husband and I have spent some more time thinking about how to handle situations like this in the future. In retrospect, I would handle the situation the same way because I know my kid, I know my family's values, and even though I don't pretend to be a perfect parent, I feel confident that my decision was the right one for my family at that moment.
Firstly, why are YOU listening to Top 40 and then wondering why your 8 year old is singing a song like that? Why are you supporting that artist? There are tons of alternatives to the radio; including iPod's and Pandora, which you can skip raunchy songs. Listen to Radio Disney, or even Christian music. OR: listen to clean music; like most Sara Bareilles, Taylor Swift, and my personal favorite, OneRepublic. I would NEVER allow my kid to listen to secular rap. It's nasty, degrading to women, and just dirty! I would NEVER listen to that kind of music, let alone download! Lady Gaga for example, has a beautiful voice. Her lyrics are unbelievably trashy. YOU are the parent. YOU should say NO.
I also wonder why this article is out here when I typically find the writing on this site much more helpful. My daughter is 9 and we have the similar protocol - she writes down the songs she wants to download, I check them out (using Commonsense Media, internet lyric sources, etc.). If we see "15" on Commonsense, it's definitely a red flag for me and she would know that my answer is likely to be "no." We talk about the songs and why/not they are OK. Because I am the parent, I also get to have veto power - sometimes it's something I can easily explain to my daughter and other times I get to say the artist is not appropriate; the music video shows me that this song is geared to an older audience; the lyrics have a bad word(s); or simply that I find the song annoying or offensive and don't want it played in our house. The key is that I AM THE PARENT - and it is my job to make sure my child is not out there belting out lyrics that are sexually suggestive WITH my consent. I usually use the rule that if I wouldn't want her to sing them in front of our school principal, she probably shouldn't be downloading it. Why can't you stand up to and for your daughter? It's pop music! If you don't download it, it will be off the airwaves and out of her mind in 3-6 months, otherwise, it's on her ipod and her lips for much longer.
"Why can't you stand up to and for your daughter? It's pop music! If you don't download it, it will be off the airwaves and out of her mind in 3-6 months, otherwise, it's on her ipod and her lips for much longer." Because if you don't make a big deal out of it, it ISN'T one. Your kids are hearing EVERYTHING at school from other kids and everywhere else in the real world. By making a huge issue out of basically a non-issue, all you're doing is making them that much more likely to want to explore the "forbidden fruit". Keeping them in a bubble isn't doing them any favors, either Of course, you could always home-school them so they're not exposed to anything on the outside world... I had a friend in high school who wasn't allowed to do ANYTHING in grade school. Her parents were uber strict, so that by the time she finally got to high school where she had more freedom, she was into EVERYTHING---sleeping around with half of the guys at school, doing drugs, etc.---plus she had two abortions (which was a GOOD thing, otherwise those kids would have been as screwed up as she was at the time).
I am 14 years old and my mom dosen 't even let me dowload music like that ,kids to young shouldn't listen to music like that beacause it teach them the bad things that you don't want them to do.
And this permissiveness and parental lack of dealing appropriately with offensive material is why our kids are growing up too quickly and these so called raunchy "artists" are making even MORE offensive and demeaning "art". Because the parents allow it and PAY for it. Whatever happened to saying no to something that a child shouldn't be exposed to? Be more of a parent and less of a friend- kids need GUIDANCE.
Even if it's about netball, there is still innuendo, double meaning. This type of scenario is why I won't listen to current music around my kids. Aside from language and sexual themes that are inappropriate for kids, pop music sends other, less overt messages--women are sex objects, being sexy is what's important, etc. My son came home from the bus one day this year singing a song--when I Googled the lyrics, not only was it full of foul language, but it was misogynistic. Thankfully he wasn't singing the right lyrics.
A lot of people are getting confused about the whole "netball" thing and the kids are either sadly following the stuff they see on the internet or they are knowingly posting untrue facts here to sway parents into thinking the song is more innocent than it seems (not working). The whole netball thing came from a blogger who has posted the "real" meanings of other songs, like lego house. The netball post took off though, much like various rumors of celebrity deaths and such, and was reposted all over facebook, twitter, and word of mouth like it was actual news. The article was as real as the "news" on the onion.
I thought this article would provide insight on how to deal with a common situation. Instead, it's about the author's own permissiveness and avoidance of parenting responsibility. By allowing her 8 year-old to download, sing, and otherwise share music not suitable for teenagers, she becomes a significant contributor to our cultural decline. I'm no prude, but I'm absolutely appalled that someone would knowingly allow a child this age to consume such filth. Why was this article even written?
By judging her and and calling her a "significant contributor to our cultural decline", I would have to disagree with your saying that you're "no prude". Yes, actually, you ARE. Did you raise your children in a box, or home-school them? Because if not, they're out there hearing/seeing all of that anyway on the playground. Can't keep 'em in a bubble forever.
I also have to ask why you want to listen to unfiltered top 40 in the car? This is a good place to sacrifice or put extra effort (turn it off, use audiobooks, make a safe mixtape, kids bop like the other parent suggested...lots of options out there).
All you have to do is go look at the Youtube video for Whistle and you will see how Flo Rida objectifies women. Please think about what that says to your daughter and I think that is enough justification to avoid them (Flo Rida) regardless of whether the song's double entendre is a problem or not.
I agree with sierra. My parents lets me listen and watch different things starting around 8 yrs old. They let me make some of my own decisions. Yet we also were raised with morals and values. I am that way with my kids. I don't believe in "sheltering" them. I would rather them hear o watch things at home so we can talk about it if the questions come up. I grant you, I don't let them listen to songs that contain a lot of bad language like the "f-bomb". We can protect them all we want, but the will hear it anyway. An example my 8 yr old dropped the "f-bomb" He said he heard it at school. I explained to him that he is not to say it and he hasn't (that I know of.) We can all agree to disagree on what is right or wrong. but ultimately it is up to individual parents to determine what is right or wrong for their children.
BRAVO. Exactly. As long as you give them good guidlines to follow, they'll make the right decisions. All sheltering them does is make them unable to deal once they get out in the real world.
I'm glad to see the responses by the these 12-year-olds. As for the song, www.songfacts.com shows that Flo Rida had every intention of being suggestive in the above mentioned song. This shows how innocent younger minds can be and why they need to consult their parents as to whether songs or other forms of media are appropriate for them.
We prefer KidzBop, which has the popular songs with most inappropriate words edited. We also listen to all types of music (except heavy metal and hard-core rap) and encourage instrumental music, which focuses on the musician. We hope to foster an interest in playing instruments instead of being a pop-star. We are also fortunate to live in a city where there is a 'lite'/family station. It's not as 'cool' with the kids but I'm prepared to be 'uncool' for the sake of preserving my children's innocence as long as we can.
Common Sense used to be appropriate enough that I let my daughter (then a mature 9) create an account so she could also add her own comments about books & movies she'd seen. As a parent, having other seasoned, responsible parenting advice was invaluable. Not only did I feel I wasn't alone in these values, but my child could see that it wasn't just me as well! Due to more & more articles like this one, and similar review of movies & songs, my daughter is no longer allowed to view this site without adult supervision. I too refered my GS troops, 4-H groups, & homeschool groups to this site. I will no longer do so.
One has to walk a very fine line when it comes to issue of music and children. I see the point: leave it alone for now, but address an issue when child is older and more "informed". This is one way of approaching the situation. Another way is to expose your child to a different kind of music: take her to musical theatre, opera house, classical music performances, etc. It is your time to suggest different choices to your child: she will be exposed to pop music and culture in time, but your don't have to speed up the process. At 8 years old child is very much coachable, so it is your time to influence her, not go with flow.
It is important that we do not listen to or financially support musicians/artists who make inappropriate music for the benefit of ourselves and our children. Sadly, I think too many parents feel they must "give in" and / or they just rationalize low morale standards. As a result, there continues to be a great deal of inappropriate music. Be brave enough to boycott music or anything (A&F) that is inappropriate and use your dollar on what you feel is encouraging, positive and appropriate.
This has to be one of the most senseless and worthless posts I have read in a while. How about instead of the headline being "Read about how one mom DEALT with the issue", how about "Read about how one Mom ignored the issue". Wish I would have ignored the post myself.. complete waste of time.
Wow. Guess you'll have to turn in your membership at Common Sense too like everyone else who's "offended" and just find another site that panders to people who want to bury their heads in the sand. Good luck with raising your kids in a bubble. ;)
You did the right thing. I'm reminded of a time when I was a kid getting a ride with my friend's family to the city pool. My friend's little sister, who was in grade school started singing the words to "Sexual Healing" in the back seat and I remember thinking, OMG! Your little sister is singing dirty lyrics in front of your Mom! But it was a popular song she'd heard on the radio. My friend's family was Catholic and very morally upright (which made it all the more shocking), but I can attest the little sister grew up into a girl with high moral standards despite the exposure to all sorts of questionable pop music. Her parents must have had more influence than the song ;)
This should be listed as an opinion piece. The implication, when I accessed from my CSM email, is that this is expertise. How I've handled it: Yes, a kid can hear the song on the radio, but I can change the channel or cover a word with sung one of my own ("beep" "chocolate milk" "lalala"). Also, on a car radio or even headphones, the audio quality isn't as good as a purchased song, so you can't make out the words perfectly. Now, a song on a kid's personal device is there for ear buds to funnel the subliminal and explicit messages right into a pliable brain. Do you want that? There are studies that say kids to listen to 2 hours of pop music a day hear repeated themes: eg, 34 brand names of liquor, casual sex, violence, misogyny. Examples of what I've done after reading the lyrics: Rihanna: what's my name: NO Eminen- love the way you lie: oops.. I let the kids buy it before I knew to screen lyrics. Discussed how it's a very bad approach to relationship on both sides. After kids realized how sad and painful the song is, first, daughter would sing, "I HATE the way you lie." Later, they didn't like it anymore. The Wanted..Glad You Came- my daughter and friends wanted to choreagraph this for school talent show. Sweet sounding song...has some words about turning out the lights and drinking. So, I recut the song by using the same lyric from the KidBopz version, which is more kid-friendly (there is software for that but I just voice-memo-recorded the Wanted song, paused the recording, resumed recording while I played the exact spot from the KidzBop, then stopped the recording and picked up where I wanted from the original song.) I listen to a wide range of music, Broadway, band, blues, classic rock, Latin dance, smooth (like Buble) and classical. That diversity going on in the car and home seems to counterbalance any kids' access to pop. The kids' requests to buy have fallen a lot lately. Don't let the kids watch music videos! And don't assume Taylor Swift's themes will remain innocent or that her current work is all sweet. I don't like some of Swift's videos as messages to girls.
Taylor Swift isn't Miss Perfect, either. Every time she breaks up with some guy, she has to write a snarky, nasty song about them to make herself feel better. Not exactly a role model.
I also have an 8 year old daughter that loves music. It is easy to tell her something is inappropriate when it outright uses words she knows she is not supposed to hear or say. Sometimes there is a clean version available. The harder part is when the content is inappropriate and she does not understand why. So, I tell her that it is inappropriate and that she is going to have to trust me on the matter because I am her mother. I tell her there are things that she does not understand and will not understand until she is older. We do censor the music she listens to and the tv that she watches and she accepts this as part of growing up and knows that she does not always have to understand why. She understands also that there are things that are ok for an adult that are not ok for children, and that adults get to make there own decissions which may not always be correct, but that children have to listen to the guidence of their parents. There is music on my phone that my daughter is not allowed to listen to. I keep it in a seperate play list and even though she often has access to my phone, she does not listen to the songs she is not supposed to. There may come a time when she will not accept things as easily and I will then have to explain why, but as for now, it is not the time.
Wow. I'm sorry, but this is a terrible article with terrible parenting advice. How about this? You're the Parent. Say 'No.' Stand up to your kids. You're the adult. Remember that. It's your job to protect them from stuff like this. Seriously, a song about fellatio isn't appropriate no matter what age you are. Please. As for how I handle racy music with my 3 kids (7, 9 13), it' s pretty easy actually. I explain to them that there are good people in the world that have good things to say and there are lousy people in the world that have nothing good to say. We honor those who have good things to say by supporting their music and we don't bring any needed attention to lousy musicians by not supporting their music. As for the radio in the car/van/suv, either local 'positive music' stations or I let them choose tunes from my iPhone. Also, their playlists for their iPods are on my account so that I can keep an eye on what they're listening to. Again, it IS our job to censor what goes into our kids' minds and give them the tools and compass to one day make their own wise choices when it comes to media consumption. Be the parent.
From an early age (3-5), we began talking to our children about our bodies, which parts are private, proper names for body parts, etc. As they got older, we read books that explained how babies are born, etc. By the time they were 8, they had a basic understanding of sex so that it wasn't "weird" to use the term in conversations like this. That way, you could explain to your daughter that this song is about sex and it's not a good song to sing or listen to. My girls have always been very helped by statements like that, and did not ask many questions afterward. We've had to restrict many songs, and in some cases we've allowed the "clean" version of certain songs. They are now 13 and 15, and tend to make good music choices, and they are now telling me when to turn the radio station because of inappropriate lyrics! In addition, we've exposed our children to a wide range of music genres, so you will find on their ipods a mix of classical, jazz, r&b, gospel hip hop, country, etc. These are music choices that they are making on their own, and is much healthier than a steady diet of mainstream pop and r&b music.
Oh yeah! And, we spend a lot of time talking about sheer musical talent. We talk about the fact that Rihanna has a beautiful voice but that she wastes it on such trashy lyrics. The same with Lady Gaga. We talk about lyrics that are meaningful and beautiful, songs that tell great stories, etc.
If kids don't have a parent with a moral compass, then they'll end up without one themselves. It's not that hard to just say no and tell them - in an age-appropriate way - that many songs out there have lyrics that mean different things that aren't okay for kids to listen to. You don't have to go into the meaning of it all. But if this is how you handle tough situations, don't be surprised when your daughter ends up coming home pregnant at age 15.
Know what? I had a friend who had parents with strict "moral compasses". She was basically not allowed to do anything until she got into high school. Guess who had 2 abortions by the time she was 15? SURPRISE. So much for keeping your kid in lockdown...
We are not only choosy about songs, books, and movies, but about the people who produce them. It is inevitable that children will admire celebrities, and I want the influences in their lives to be positive. Therefore, we not only have talks about the content of songs, books, tv/movies, but about the personal lives and backgrounds of singers and actors. They understand that becoming a 'fan' conveys a kind of support for that person, and do they really want to 'support' criminals, drug addicts, sexually irresponsible, and let's face it- some very unintelligent people with their time, money, and energy? They usually don't. We steer our kids toward people who creative in ways other than in entertainment, realizing that while music and art are wonderful, there are many people to admire who daily risk their lives for others, and use their talents to benefit others with discoveries in technology, medicine, and the world of ideas. They often opt for audiobooks of biographies and literary nonfiction instead of music. We also teach our kids that trust works both ways. They want us to trust them to make good decisions, but we expect them to trust our love for them, as well as our pool of knowledge and years of experience to help them make good decisions. So sometimes we will tell them that the reasons we have are hard to explain, and that to a certain extent they will have to trust that at the proper time, we will explain in more detail. Parenting is tough. It requires grit and determination and as much objectivity as we can possibly muster about the most precious people in our lives. They are vulnerable and innocent, and it is our duty to protect and guide in a way that benefits them, regardless of what it costs us physically, mentally, or emotionally.
I must be missing something here. Where is this netball explanation stuff? I did do "research", and could not find anything about that. I did find interviews during which the artist alluded to the song being about oral sex, however. Maybe there is conflicting information out there, but I don't buy the "innocent" version.
Sorry, I completely disagree with your decision. What ever happened to just saying "no"? Ladies and Gentlemen, stop letting your kids make these kinds of decisions! You're their parent not their buddy. You must guide them and sometimes make decisions for them. Sometimes explanations won't work because they are too young to understand. So say "no"! Don't worry about them crying or being mad at you.. they'll get over it. Turning a blind eye to the exposure of sexual innuendos to your children is unacceptable. Where do you draw the line? Why not show the kids the video of Keshia drinking her own urine on Youtube? Or how about Rihanna's video "We found love" with her being high as a kite rolling around on the floor. My point here is, the kids will have the rest of there lives to be exposed to all these sexual innuendos and all kinds of bad things in the world. For now, when they are young at 6, 7, 8 years old, keep them innocent. Teach them to find entertainment in things that will build their education and most importantly, morality. It also comes down to that... morals. I'm a 37 year old father of three boys and I never try to be cool or hip with them. I'm a HUGE music fan ( I use to DJ for 9 years) and if I saw an 8 year old girl dancing around signing "Blow my Whistle" or "I kissed a Girl" I would really question the morality of the parents. No one is perfect but controlling what your kids listen to just takes a bit of effort. Act now, say "no" and explain why when they are old enough to understand.
I completely agree with your 'just say no' mantra! Check out my blog post response to this: http://shannonpopkin.blogspot.com/2013/05/her-daughter-wanted-to-download-raunchy.html
I was really hoping to get some useful ideas from this article, but I didn't. I'm not sure much of the conversation here in Commentland has been constructive either. Given that your child is 8, you're in a position to give a flat "no." Discuss/don't discuss the reasons - it's up to you to decide how and when to handle the "sex talk" with your child - but either way, if you didn't think it was appropriate you should have just said No.
I have a 7 y/o who loves FloRida, and I just tell him no. I've found some "clean" lyrics of his and others, and sometimes I"ll allow those. TV and music are a frequent battle here, and I expect that will last until they move out. I tell them, "If you/I/your father aren't allowed to say that, why invite someone into our house who so disregards our rules and values?" Of course I get the eye roll and the "you're so strict" comments but guess what, I'm the parent and I LOVE being told I'm strict, because that means I'm doing my job. (Another eye-roll inducing comment lol). Everything changes with time and rules are no exception, but there's no reason to disregard your own personal values (and comfort level!) just because other adults have abdicated their responsibility.
I'm sorry, but his is just an example of what's wrong with today's parents. Our parents generation would have never had this issue. Not because there was no racy music when we were growing up, but b/c they had no problems making parenting decisions that would take away their own comfort. The parent sits in the front seat, therefore has control of the on/off button on the radio. Just don't turn it on or don't listen to Top 40 radio in the car. It's that simple. We listen to NPR (not all shows) and for music it's jazz, classical or Christian rock. At home we listen to the Pandora Tween station, to which I hold the right to veto any songs that I find objectionable, on the spot. (There has only been a handful of those over the course of several months.) My son either follows my rule or he does not get to listen to music. End of conversation.
This was almost exactly the senario I went through when my 8 year old asked to download it. I came to the same reasoning as you! She listened to it for a few weeks and then it was forgotten. My kids don't listen to a whole lot of music they are too busy playing outside and sports and I knew she didn't think it was about what I thought it was about, so why plant the seed?
I personnaly do not like the song and hate that it has such a catchy tune, because I wanted to like it before I heard the words. We listen to a variety of stations in the car, but I do change the station when a questionable song comes on. Most of the time we listen to the Christian station or Radio Disney. My kids haven't asked for this song, because they never heard it to know what it was, but when the song "Sexy and I know it" was out, I couldn't avoid it. It was even in trailers for kid movies. :( They also played it at the elementary school dance which afterwards my kindergartener came home singing it and shaking his butt around. We had to hae a conversation about how he couldn't say that. Sometimes it doesn't take too much explination either, there are a lot of movies or tv shows that the kids see their friends watching but they know they aren't allowed to. Sometimes they don't like the decision but I just let them know the topics are not appropriate for them
Maybe 8 is a tiny bit too young in our house to have this conversation--it isn't that much too young. What is really surprising is the shaming comments! If you respond to your kids that way they will do the following: They will stop talking to you They will sneak around they will still listen but will lie about it do you really want this to happen? You may question the developmental appropriateness of the age of this conversation, but it's tenor is right on target.
I totally agree. Reading the judgemental comments on here made me think I accidentally fell into the 1950's...can't get over how many people on here are still living in that era and trying to block out the reality of this century.
Interesting...I did look up the "official meaning" of the lyrics and the netball meaning is supposedly cleared up. HOWEVER, I don't think most teens and young adults are taking that interpretation (and having Flo Rida "officially" say so doesn't make it so in the minds of his fans). I might say to an 8 year old that a lot of songs have two meanings and some older kids (or their parents) might take the "inappropriate" meaning of touching somebody with their lips ("ewwww!") so let's listen to it on the radio if it comes on but not on the MP3 player.
I respect the decision Sierra made re: Blow My Whistle for her daughter, but I would not have made the same decision. I have a 15 yo and an 8 yo and I've been through this with the older one, many times. I would just tell her, "this song is not appropriate for you. Choose another song." If she pushed on it, we'd discuss it. I don't think Sierra made a horrible choice, I can only imagine how much music our kids listen to with double meanings we (and they!) are not aware of. Must really amuse the people making the music.
Hi, Sierra. When I read your title, I thought, "Yea... what am I going to do when that happens?" So I wanted to see what you did. I could relate to all of your concerns, but I would have told her no. My oldest is 15, and though she hasn't asked to download songs like 'Whistle', there have been other things to work through--issues that I wasn't ready to talk about yet. But I have never allowed myself to stay away from a subject with my kids because I'm the one uncomfortable. I don't think that's fair to them. God tucked them into FAMILIES for guidance, not peer groups, and I want to give them all the insight they need to make wise choices. I think what I noticed most, though, is your reluctance to say no without giving a reason. My kids know that we will say yes to as much as we possibly can, but there will be things we say no to. And they also know that while we often do explain why, there are times we won't give them a reason. I'm not sure if I would have told my daughter about oral sex in fifth grade. I don't think she was ready for that content yet. (God has uniquely gifted you to make those calls for your own daughter.) I probably would have said, "Honey, this man is singing about something entirely different than a whistle. The song has a double meaning, and I will talk to you about it when you're older, but not yet. I need you to trust me on this, and we're not downloading that song." I've been surprised at how willing my kids are to accept this sort of appeal. It's not too late. You could tell her you've changed your mind and want to delete it. I know I would.
I agree with you. I think it's probably time at 3rd grade to educate our kids about oral sex, regular sex...NOT in great detail, don't get me wrong. Just in these kind of situations when it comes up. Our kids are hearing many more things than we think and it's best they hear it from us.
Wow. I'm really shocked... I had entire CAR LOADS of kids from ages 8-15 belting out that song all last summer and into the fall. Never ONCE did I think it was about oral sex. I just thought it was about whistling. I also have to wholeheartedly agree with "ukeplayer's" post below. I was listening to some "oldies" music this past week on XM radio. I found a lot of the songs a heck of a lot more sexual now--as an adult. As a teenager, I never even heard that part. I am much more offended by the idea that so many songs talk about drugs in a positive way. (References to "you take me high" or "I'm addicted to... " or "she was getting higher than a kite".) This has brought up many a discussion--and a channel change, much to the chagrin of the visiting kids sometimes :)
I handled it the same way I have with my daughter. If kids are going to listen to popular radio they're going to hear innuendo. You balanced not having to get into gory details early and leaving the door open to listen and converse together. Good job!
Been there. We even get tripped up between stations that play the PG or PG13 versions of songs. It's a tough call and you just have to know your kids and how they will react. Good luck!
When I listen now to the rock songs I was singing and playing in the car, I'm impressed that my parents didn't ban it. I had no idea at the time how sexual almost every song was! I don't know what their thoughts were, but if they thought it better not to make a fuss about song lyrics, and instead to concentrate on teaching me good morals and ethics, then I think they made the right choice. Most of that sexual inuendo went right over my head--even as a teen! But when I hear it now, I find much of it offensive to the person I am now. SO... Don't think that song lyrics are going to turn your child bad. Give your kids a solid moral and ethical foundation, be a role model, and let them impress you with their intelligence!
Buh-bye. ;) I'm sure you'll be missed. Maybe you should see if you can't get the One Hundred Moron Moms to get up a petition to ban this place too, huh? XD
Sierra is just one more mom who is afraid to say no to her child. Yikes. I can just hear her child later in life..."mom, I can't believe you let me listen to a song about oral sex when I was only 8."
Wow, Sierra, I couldn't disagree with you more. I would have told my child that the song isn't appropriate and neither is the discussion why at this point in her life. By downloading it you are giving a thumbs up to this kind of filth that frankly none of really need to be listening to. Common Sense Media has no common sense.
I agree that it probably would have been best to tell her daughter no but I do think a discussion would have been a good idea. The world isn't the same as when we were kids. Our kids are hearing and seeing things on the Internet, in movies...if not there, then from their friends. I think it's best to start talking about these things when they're young. They're learning about it younger and younger. I'm not saying we need to draw them pictures or go into great detail; I'm just saying a discussion on sex is good and how skewed and overdone the media portrayal of it is (in songs, commercials, etc.)
I totally agree with the decision. And I happen to have that same song downloaded, and every time I hear it I feel the same way "Should my kids be listening to this?" And, yes, when the song was popular, my son would walk around singing it. However, the song's popularity is waning, and we have all survived, our morals still intact. As parents it's our duty to raise kids appropriately, and I agree that we can only shield them from so much, so it's our job to teach them in spite of those things, not to try to hide them from the real world. I think we all have to sit back and recall the days when our (my) generation was walking around as young children belting "Like a Virgin", as loud as can be and proud of it. We had no idea. And somehow I think I turned out ok.
Amazing, isn't it? How did we ever survive that song---plus a million others--without becoming crack heads, prostitutes or serial killers? Gee, I guess all that awful music isn't all that damaging after all. Boggles the mind....LOL!
Being a Virgin is a part of life. A little different from having someone "Blow your whistle". No one is saying singing these words will turn a kid into a bad person. It just comes down to morals. I personally think children should remain innocent and should not be exposed to these sexual terms until they are old enough to know what they mean.
If you consider the actions taken here in proportion to other age groups, I equate this decision to those high school parents who justify buying alcohol for their students and friends under the premise that as long as they are under the control of the parents, they at least feel they will be safe. We rationalize so many things in the name of safety, they will get it anyway, and other excuses. I feel though we are the adults and sometimes "nos" do not need explanation.
I completely agree with the article. I think everyone should go back and listen to some of the songs you belted out in the car when you were a kid. Did you really understand what you were singing? I would say probably not.
So does that make it ok? I did the same as a kid because I didn't understand and my parents didn't speak much English so they couldn't stop me from listening but if they did, I'm sure I wouldn't have listened to a lot of that type of music. Me knowing what these songs are about, it's my obligation NOT to let my kids listen to this.
It's true. Still, I do think looking back, I would have liked my parents to have had honest talks with me about stuff I was curious about.
I think you handled in appropriately to be honest. I'm 17 and my mom reacted the same way. We all love music in our household and she would never think about censoring what I listen to. If you think your child has enough common sense to not imitate the lyrics that she hears (that seriously aren't even as bad as most of Rihanna's) then good on you. Though the logic is simplistic, it's obvious. Your daughter had obviously listened to the song before so why would you say she was unable to download it? Likewise, if you had told her about the metaphor, that would have created more talk than just letting it be. Unfortunately, your daughter will probably know everything there is to know about sex from school. Unless you tell her now. I learned in 6th grade. Middle school. From my friends. But when I learned what it was I didn't decide to screw every guy that looked my way. My point being, my mother reacted the same way as you did, I'm 17, I'm not pregnant, I'm going to college. Letting your daughter download one racy song, that she might not even understand, will not ruin her lifeless yours, as seems the majority of everyone else commenting seems will happen.
Mistoffelees, I appreciate your comment; I have a 15 yo and really, at this point, I expect her to make her own wise choices. But the author of the article was referring to an 8 year old. To me, that's a big difference. An 8 year old still needs guidance and really, even though it's just music, the message is getting into your head. So, imo, make it a good message, or at least not a raunchy one. In this case, I don't think harm's done. As others have noted, there are so many songs that have double meanings we're not even aware of.
My son, now 12, also wanted to download this song. We have an agreement that I have to approve downloads. After listening to the song (quite catchy I must say) and confirming what the song is about, we had a talk. I was honest with him about the subject of the song. I was also honest that likely this was a request for a casual sex encounter. I then asked him if he thought it would be appropriate to be included in his music library. He agreed that it would not. We've been dealing with subject of sex for some time now. I've always told him I would be honest if he asked me questions (and he's asked me some doozies). I've let him be the guide. I've shared with him that sex is good (actually great) but it has it's proper place like most things in life. It's when sex is taken out of it's proper context that it can be harmful. Mainstream television, movies and music bombard our kids with sexual subjects all day every day - hence why I have come to rely on Commonsense Media to help us with our media consumption decisions. We have to be active in guiding them through this maze or they will be guided by what they see and hear. I know, I know, the music when I was young was racy as well (do you remember "Pour Some Sugar On Me"?). Now that said, just because we may have listened to it doesn't necessarily mean it was okay. Looking back, I probably didn't understand half of what I was listening to. But I did understand after a while that casual sex seemed to be okay if you were in love. That's what media said anyway. My parents never addressed this. I won't make that same mistake. Advertising works and sex sells..and casual sex is hurting our kids (statistics don't lie). It's the parents' job to share with their child their family's ethical view of sex -- not just the parts and the mechanics. If they don't they'll learn it for sure from main stream media - and Flo Rida.
Wow good for you! Good for you for keeping the communication going! I think it's SO important to not just say, "no, you can't listen to that." But to also explain why, start a dialogue. I think our kids need that and want that. I don't want my kids hearing warped versions of this stuff from their friends. Give them a good foundation. Sex is good! But not in this context....etc.
Really? I'm in high school and whether you like it or not, your child will learn soooo much about sex from her friends rather than from you. I learned what oral sex was, etc. You name it, I learned it. If you really want her to learn about sex from you, then I suggest you tell her everything now. And I'm pretty sure 5th graders don't know what oral sex is....
Anyone who thinks this song is about anything other than oral sex is either kidding or completely naive. And this article is shockingly simplistic in its logic. As parents, we have to make tough decisions sometimes, and in our culture that includes explaining why we think something is inappropriate, not sweeping it under the rug for another day. A fifth grader is probably still going to tell the author's child what the song means, and she is no closer to addressing the issue with her child on her own terms.
Wow. That is such an irresponsible approach I can't believe I read it on this site. Very disappointed with Common Sense Media right now.
Let's not be naive, folks. The lyrics aren't about netball (yes, I looked it up, and Nowhere does Flo Rida himself say that's what it's about). Flo Rida knows perfectly well that a song about "netball" isn't going to sell. We wouldn't be here talking about it if people didn't take the lyrics to mean exactly what he intended. Sierra, you abdicated your role as parent. You don't have to explain every decision you make for your daughter's safety at this age. What you do have to do is make the right decisions and stick by them.
I went through this with my kids when they were younger. I just told them no, because the song was "inappropriate." I didn't have to go into a big explanation because they weren't allowed to watch certain shows or movies for the same reason. They knew it either had to do with sex, violence or dirty words. I would also ask where the song was heard to make sure that they weren't playing it at school. I think it's really kind of a disgusting song with a very catchy line. Do you really want your daughters and sons singing a song about oral sex? Sometimes, you have to use that "common sense" feeling that a song is just wrong for a child to even listen to - even if it makes you feel like your parents. Because that is now what you are a "parent".
I am a teenager, and as a young kid I heard the song "Crank That Soulja Boy" by Soulja Boy Tell 'Em. I would play that song on repeat. That song is actually about drugs and sex, but I never thought that. For a few days I would sing it loudly then after that I got bored of it. No one told me it was inappropriate therefore I learnt nothing inappropriate. It is only now, as a teenager, that I go back to the song and am able to interpret the lyrics as they were intended.
i had exactly the same thing, my teacher in 5th grade would even play that song in class! nowadays, i go and listen to it and i find it rather disgusting to be honest, but all my friends still thinks that its about superman!
that kind of stuff isnt music. not by a long shot. it should be censored, if only for the sake of not having people exposed to such idiocy. if you value "music" so much, then you may want to try something more musical, such as jazz or classical until shes older, and then she can decide what she wants to listen to when shes old enough to understand the gravity of her choices. thats just my 2 cents, its what my parents did so its really the only thing i could think to do in this situation.
Jeez! The song is about netball - what an innocent world some of you guys live in. For the record, I commend the OP for presenting the dilemma she faced and explaining her reasons for the choice she made. This was not presented as advice, but as something to stimulate debate. It seems like many of the people on this site would prefer only to hear things they want to hear.
Thanks Sierra. Music is more difficult to manage than other media because often kids absorb it inadvertently. Your dilemma raised a good point and people parent differently. I would not have let her get the Flo Rida whistle song. Some of your readers may be interested in whizparents.com a site for parents and kids to help them talk about digital devices including music via fun quizzes.
That has got to be some of the worst advice I've ever read. If you feel appalled at the music, why allow her to download it just to avoid an awkward conversation? Maybe I am the only one, but I believe it is our job to censor what our children are exposed to - at least until they've reached an age when they can make grounded choices based on the moral framework you've helped them establish. This post is a huge disappointment on a site that claims "common sense."
Wow! I am with many of the other commentators. Usually I am very impressed with CSM reviewers, but Sierra could not be any more off base. Not only that, what she is suggesting does not seem to go along with what this website stands for. That Whistle song is disgusting. If you aren't ready to discuss certain subjects with your child,then don't. There is this word called "No." Parents have forgotten to use it. You can soften the blow by saying that it is an inappropriate song and I will discuss the reasons when I feel you are ready for it. Every time you download a disrespectful song that is exploiting sex, you are not only saying it is ok. You are also financially supporting it. And she's only 8! I especially liked Dulpurp's comments. Thank you. I sometimes feel like my sisters and I are the only ones who think that way anymore.
Yes, I agree with you completely. Actually, I am totally nonplused. I'm a grandmother and out of the loop on many of these things, and I am quite aware values aren't what they used to be (shoot, even a couple of years ago!), but it seems to me that it might still be a clever idea to tell a child no... unless eight is the new the age of consent. Is this still America?
I understand the mother's reasoning, but I don't agree with it, Why doesn't she have a discussion away from the iPhone, in the girls' bedroom or out in the living room or at the kitchen table away from the download device. Have a discussion about what is appropriate listen music. Explain to the daughter that she, as the mother, wants the daughter to have the right values for what to listen to. Explain that some songs have words and phrases that are not appropriate for young ladies. Explain that being a lady is something she, the mother, wants her, the daughter to think of herself as and what she should always attempt to be. Explain that some songs want young girls to do things that are not lady like. Explain that as a mother, she wants to listen to the songs first and see if the songs have good words, Explain that there are lots of songs that are good and wholesome and appropriate for young ladies. Why can't this mother teach her daughter to be the BEST she can be not the worst she can be. Tell the daughter how proud she is of her and how she wants to continue to be proud of her daughter and the choices she makes. The mother in this article did not have common sense. And CommonSense should say so.
Good article. Reminds me of the song "Afternoon Delight" My siblings and I knew all the words but not the double entendre and we laugh about it now....much like I thought that Bad Bad LeRoy Brown was the Baddest Man in the Whole "Down" Town. Regarding Whistle: I decided to delete it from my youngest son's itouch after hearing my oldest son's friend asking if he knew what the song was about. I l actually like the song...if I don't get all lyrical!
How old is your youngest son? If he's 11 and below, he won't get it. Let him listen to it, enjoy it and have him figure it out on his own. That's what my mom did and I'm pretty sure I turned out all right.
The song is quite clearly about oral sex. From my perspective, unless you're prepared to 1) talk with your child about oral sex and (what it is, etc.) and 2) perhaps discuss what it means when a man refers to a woman in the various ways Flo Rida does in this song...you may want to think twice about listening to the song with your child. I have no judgement about what mutually consenting adults do with each other, but I find the song REALLY offensive and it doesn't get played in our car or our home.
I'm, to a slightly less shocked degree, with the other commenters. At the very, very least, CSM should not let this person write a "Common Sense" review until 6 months after this incident, and see what develops. To spin off from one of Kassidy's metaphors, imagine an article that says "...then I decided to let me kid take the gun out to the park. The end!" umm, and THEN what happened? My son is 7, and we have taught him that there are some things that are just for grownups. Even though other kids might sing "hey, sexy lady!" at recess, we tell him that those other kids aren't being appropriate. If he came home from school and said he wanted to download music, I would just say no. I would say "7-year-olds don't need the internet for new music. When you're older, we'll talk about it". Hey, when I was 7 I was listening to Tubby the Tuba and Peter and the Wolf! My 7-year-old's musical world is 1000 times richer. I'm certainly no prude, and aware things have changed, but it feels to me that these days too many parents want to make their kid their little pop culture buddy. This doesn't feel right to me. My wife actually had to talk to another kid in our son's class, a girl who kept teasing him about how she's going to post things on facebook about him and "ruin his life". Maybe it's just me, but, at least at this age, just because another kid's parents are exposing them to inappropriate media doesn't mean that my kid has to have the same exposure. Just because other 7-year-olds have their own cell phone or ipad doesn't mean it's a good thing. It doesn't mean I have to explain in any detail what "sexy" means. I don't listen to Top 40 radio or current R&B hits in front of my kid partly because of the heavy sexual innuendo. Just like I don't watch "grown up tv" or movies when he's around. Now, again, I actually have ZERO problem with this author's personal choices with her own daughter, as a regular post to a comment board it is fine, but it shouldn't stand up as a guidepost for common sense.
I didn't realize that when I flagged a comment as inappropriate, it would disappear. But I am glad. Maybe I am the only one who can't see it anymore! One commenter made a serious personal attack by saying that the blogger "had no morals of her own." Really? Is that kind of talk sharing the "good" or is it resorting to playground name-calling? Ms. Filucci's post exhibits a good deal of common sense, indeed.
I nipped this in the bud. It may not work for everyone. My daughter and I have a relationship with Christ that I have co-developed with her since birth. I have a picture of the Jesus and his sacred heart in our entryway. When she was 11 or 12, she was listening to Keisha and Lady Gaga and was downloading their songs. I went online and printed out the lyrics to some of their really bad songs. She and I stood there before the painting of Jesus and I read the lyrics to Jesus. For a long time after that, she did not listen to sexually explicit music, at least not in front of me. She is 16 now and she does listen to music with innuendo, etc. but it is rare that I hear it and I can tell it is not a focus in her life. She likes country now, which honestly has its drinking, drugging and sexual references just the same. But I think the experience of reading that crap to Jesus put it in perspective. Young moms, teach your girls to love Jesus. He loves them.
If you're going to listen to Top 40 pop music you deserve what you get. When you let big business and commercialism choose your music you get very little choice. At least you are actually studying the lyrics. If you just want insipid upbeat music without any worries about content (assuming you aren't anti-Christian) you can always try K-Love. I mostly believe that the label "pop culture" is an oxymoron, although as a journalist you probably will disagree with that.
uummm... yeah. I agree with KassidyC. Mom, if you don't want your daughter raising eyebrows by singing the lyrics, then why are YOU listening to this song in front of her?
I agree with KarenKT. My family rarely listens to the radio in the car, but when we do and an inappropriate song comes on, we turn off the radio or change the station. One additional point: by buying this inappropriate music off iTunes (or wherever you're getting it), you're only encouraging the industry to produce more of the same.
I recommend looking up the lyrics. If it has about one or two no-no words then buy the clean. If it has a lot of swear-words, then don't let her get it. Chances are, if you do, she might end up finding the inappropriate version on YouTube or Spotify. Hope this helped! -Happyrainbows Edit: Whistle is actually about netball. Flow Rida, the artist, was once a netball coach. Overreacting sometimes isn't that good!
If you really are a kid, please don't be telling other kids that this song is about netball - because it's not. Maybe you should talk to your parents or another adult about this song.
Um, I really don't think it's about Netball, despite what Flo Rida says. Here's just some of the lyrics... Go girl you can twerk it Let me see you whistle while you work it I'mma lay it back, don't stop it 'Cause I love it how you drop it, drop it, drop it on me Now, shawty let that whistle blow-oh, oh oh Yeah, baby let that whistle blow-oh oh!