Worried about the music your child is listening to -- or, more specifically, the words it contains? Parents of children with special needs have to be particularly vigilant, lest their child perseverate on a nasty rap phrase or take wrenching lyrics too much to heart. Advisory stickers don't always flag everything a parent might find inappropriate. And with downloads becoming popular, a parent may never see a CD box. How do you know what those songs are saying? Here's one way to check.
Time Required: Depends on how much music your child buys
- Get the name of the song and the artist. If your child isn't sure, look the song up on iTunes or the artist or CD up on Amazon.com to see if you can find the correct spelling.
- In a search engine such as Google, type: lyrics "name of song" name of artist.
- The search will turn up a number of different sites that print song lyrics. You may have to click on more than one to find the actual lyrics (and put up with a fair amount of obnoxious ads), but at least one of them will likely have the words you're looking for.
- Don't just skim the lyrics for four-letter words (although if you see some right off, you probably don't have to read further). Read them all the way through and look for whatever concerns you -- sexual imagery, violent imagery, glorification of drug and alcohol use, political statements, or references to things that would affect your particular child adversely.
- You will have to decide for your child how much or how little objectionable content makes you say "no" to a song or CD. But once you do, stand firm. Your child may hate you in the short run, but having a concerned adult in his or her life is the best benefit, and there are a lot of other songs in the world.
- If your child uses iTunes, set up the account and do not share the password. Allow your child to shop and put prospective purchases in a "to buy" folder. Then review them, looking up lyrics for songs or artists you are not familiar with. If the selection is unacceptable, delete it from the folder. If it's okay, log in and complete the buying process.
- If your child doesn't download music but buys CDs, you can still use the internet to check up on those selections. Go to Amazon.com to find the list of songs on a CD your child wants to buy, then look up the lyrics using the steps above. You can do the same using iTunes. If an otherwise objectionable CD has one or two songs you'd ban, consider downloading the acceptable songs through iTunes or a similar service and burning them to a CD for your child.