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Vol.  10  No. 3 March 2008  Page 17
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Robert Johnson

Be Careful Little Ears!

By Robert Johnson

    This is hardly news to any conscientious parent, but it is something that should be emphasized time and again. Two recent studies make the connection between the type of music teenagers listen to and the attitudes they develop and carry out in life. A Rand Corp. study on raunchy music lyrics found that kids who listen to music with degrading sexual content were much more likely to have teenage sex. Among heavy listeners, 51% started having sex within 2 years, compared to 29% of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music. Steven Martino, a researcher for Rand Corp. states, “We think it really lowers kids’ inhibitions and makes them less thoughtful about sexual decisions, and may influence them to make decisions they regret.”

    An earlier study by the University of North Carolina’s Teen Media Center looked at all music, not just raunchy lyrics, and came up with similar findings. Kids who listen to a lot of sexual content when 12-14 years old were twice as likely to have sex between the ages of 14-16 as kids who were not exposed to much sexual media. Their exposure to sexual content in media, including the music they listen to, is forming their expectations that early, relationship-free sex is the norm. As an example of this, one public school teacher was troubled by his teenage students dressing immorally, and when he expressed this to them, they were “shocked and hurt” by this characterization. To them, they were simply just “dressing in style.” They were reflecting what they had seen and heard and accepted.

    Parents and concerned adults must be as involved in this part of young people’s lives as they are with what they eat, or who they develop relationships with. Scripture makes very clear that what we take in our minds ultimately gets reflected in how we live. Jeremiah asked the people of his day, “Thus says the Lord: ‘What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?’” (Jeremiah 2:5). The prophet was speaking about idolatry. When they pursued it and made it a part of their conscious lives, they became what it is—worthless. Paul reminds us we should “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). We must make sure what we fill our minds with encourages a godly lifestyle, not that which promotes sin and sinful living. We must be careful to warn our young people about what they allow into their minds, which enters their hearts and then is reflected in their everyday living. “To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled” (Titus 1:15).

    This is a warning every adult must heed, as well. What do we allow into our thoughts, our consciousness, to become part of how we think, who we are? Do we spend any time in the Word of God, or do we allow television to constantly program us as to our values and belief system? What type of music do you listen to, what type of literature do you read, and what is its message? Does your life permeate with the spiritual, or is it a reflection of the world? “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2).

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