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Teenage girl dancing with her eyes closed while listening to music on headphones

Sing-a-Long or Not: Teens and Music

According to research from John Hopkins University, listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory.

Music has so many amazing benefits. Unfortunately, in today’s society, while there are many quality music options, there are just as many questionable choices for children. In my humble opinion, many songs are inappropriate.

To say our teenage daughter is obsessed with music would probably be an understatement. I’m convinced the little buds in her ears that make sound are a permanent part of her eardrums.

Ryan and I decided a few years ago we wanted to limit her 24-hour access to radio content. We purchased an MP3 player with no radio access. Let me tell you, this was no easy task. The rule is she can play the radio when we are in the car, however a song doesn’t get downloaded on her device unless the lyrics to the song have been approved.

Of course, in true teenager form, she requests popular songs from the radio or a movie. Her favorite reply is, “But Mommy, it’s catchy.” I told her she needed to read the lyrics first and tell me what the song is about. Once we talk about the message of the song, I ask her if she thinks the song is appropriate. Let’s just say she was surprised to find out some of those catchy songs had some very poor messages.

This exercise has been a wonderful way to discuss many hard topics in a non-threatening way. It is also an awesome literary activity that explores vocabulary and opens doors to understanding poetry, rhythm, rhyme, tone, and mood.

Words have the capability to build hope, provide positive messages, and bring clarity. They also have the potential to hurt, manipulate, and cause confusion. Combine music and words and you can have a powerhouse of beauty or destruction.

It’s my hope that by having our teen read song lyrics, it will equip her to make good choices, help her see that words matter, and help her understand that the types of messages we allow into our lives can shape us in a positive or a negative way.

For more information about children and media content, visit CommonSenseMedia.org.



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About Adrianna and Ryan Walden

About Adrianna and Ryan  Walden Ryan and Adrianna Walden have been married for 14 years. The two met when she was working for an arena football team in Norfolk where he was playing football. Ryan is a service coordinator with the Chesapeake Early Intervention Program and Adrianna is a Licensing Specialist for Children's Programs. Both have enjoyed teaching CHKD’s "Happiest Baby" class together for the past eight years. Together they have one daughter, who despite early health issues, is now a thriving and happy school-age child. The Walden's also lead a weekly community group through their church for married couples and their children.