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Is today’s pop music inappropriate for children?

Each week we ask two writers with contrasting opinions to debate the question…


YES
NYIMA PRATTEN

I truly believe that today’s pop music is inappropriate for young, impressionable minds and is contributing to the increasing commercialisation and sexualisation of children.

Diane Abbott, shadow health minster, has claimed that British culture is ‘increasingly pornified’ and, judging by the long list of raunchy pop videos and explicit lyrics, I am inclined to agree.

My generation fed off the likes of S Club Seven, with their PG rated lyrics, and the Spice Girls, who at least promoted ‘girl power’ in their miniskirts.

However, nowadays I think that the pop music industry chooses not to promote positive role models, instead opting for hyper-sexualised images of pop stars.

Let us take Rihanna, one of the biggest pop stars in the world right now. This pop darling has caused many scandals.

Rihanna’s hit singles, including tracks such as S&M and Unfaithful, are not really the positive, empowering message we want to send to young people learning about what is and isn’t acceptable in the world we live.

Furthermore, her label employs the use of ‘dirty’ music videos with provocative, pornified images to sell records.

This whole pop package is then readily available to tech savvy youngsters who have unrestricted access to large quantities of information on their personal phones, tablets and computers leaving adults playing catch up on new-age parenting.

One example of a lasting impact the pop music industry has had on the sexualisation and commercialisation of children are the British YouTube sensations Sophia Grace and Rosie. These pre-teens caught the eyes of the world after uploading a disturbing clip of them mimicking the gyrating, overtly sexual Nicki Minaj.

Conservative MP Claire Perry has suggested, amongst other things, a crackdown on raunchy music videos, to protect children. I for one give her proposal my full support.

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NO
VALENTINA ETAGHENE

I feel that mainstream pop music today caters for all audiences and believe its lyrical content is suitable for kids aged 6-12.

There is positive and uplifting music in the charts, which focuses on themes of love, friendship and fun. Let’s take a look at the lyrics sung by Rihanna for example, 'we found love in a hopeless place' or by Nicki Minaj 'boy you got my heart beat running away, beating like a drum and its coming your way.’ These lyrics are fun, girly and most of all relevant. Children listening to them do not recite sexual lyrics or sing about topics they are not already familiar with.

Critics will often attack pop music by stating that it over sexualises children and feeds their precious minds, setting them up for a life that is full of promiscuity, disposable wealth and inherent drug use.

This is ridiculous because not all children 'parrot' lyrics they do not understand. Do you honestly think children who are aged 7 or above are that naive to pop culture?

I am pretty certain that at that age they have already been exposed to such content and references of a sexual nature through other media platforms.

I believe it is an artist's individual right to perform and write songs that are authentic and true to them.

No singer should feel bullied into producing music that is targeted to a specific demographic. Nor should they feel they have to become a role model.

Every parent has a sole responsibility to control or censor anything they feel their child shouldn't see or hear. It is unacceptable to attack the pop music industry alone. Then again it is easier to attack pop music culture than admit you’re a lousy mother or father.

THE 'HEAD TO HEAD' COLUMN IS BY THE LONDON 360 REPORTERS
. To find out more about what our reporters are up to go to www.communitychannel.org/london360
-WE ARE LONDON!

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