A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is an hour-long live countdown of the 10 most popular music videos determined by phone calls and email votes from young fans. (Note: The countdown switched to online-only as of Nov. 2008.) Artists who have made it to the countdown can include those whom parents may consider controversial including 50 Cent, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Ludacris, and Eminem. Parents should watch out for images of sexuality, violence, and lyrics that may be inappropriate for their kids. Parents may want to watch the program with their kids on a few different occasions because the videos are always changing. This may help to better determine if the show is acceptable for their child to watch.
What's the story?
Fans vote for their favorite video by phone or Internet. The top 10 contenders are aired during TOTAL REQUEST LIVE, a one-hour live broadcast complete with a live audience of fans cheering for their favorite singers. A myriad of hosts present the videos. When videos premiere, the artist is likely to make an appearance, be interviewed briefly, and occasionally perform. Various celebrities also appear on the show in order to promote their movies or projects.
Is it any good?
The video combination of pop music with dancing and sometimes sexual images has become candy to tween and teen viewers of MTV. Videos have ventured into a much more explicit, sex-driven territory -- even with young female artists. Parents may feel some of the material both lyrically and visually is inappropriate for a young audience. TRL is a snapshot of the music that is available and that is influencing kids. Watch with your kids if they insist on tuning in -- you'll find plenty of opportunities to talk to them about issues like sexism, the glamorizing of violence, and why some artists feel the need to push the envelope.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about alternative types of music. Why do certain artists make the cut and other do not? Are some videos popular just because they are shocking or feature half-naked women? Does this list of ten songs accurately represent today's music? Which songs would your child vote for?