Commentary: Teens have minds of their own

By Bobbi Burroughs
Staff Writer
the Southern Scoop
Southern High School

This commentary appeared originally in the Southern Scoop, the school newspaper of Southern High School which partners with the NECD Community VOICE.

“I was running in circles, I hurt myself, Just to find my purpose.” –Circles (by Hollywood Undead)

Music is everywhere, whether you hear it in the elevator, at a store shopping, or even blasting from someone’s earphones it’s impossible to avoid it for one whole day.

I personally don’t believe that music has an effect on what kids and teenagers do or the way they think. To be completely honest I think that a big part of how teenagers and kids act are based off of what they see at home or in school and the level of discipline they receive from their parents.

Peer pressure also plays a big part in the way many act and think.

I myself am a teenager, so I hang around a lot of people my age. I’ve come to notice that many of the people I meet in school change with the new set of friends they choose to spend a majority of their time with.

It’s easy to go from the good kid who always studies to the bad kid who just got caught smoking in the bathroom with a group of friends. Peer pressure can get teenagers and kids to do many things they normally wouldn’t.

Of course all of us are different so just because I haven’t been affected by my friends that aren’t so good, and I’m not saying I’m a perfect kid, but because of my parents and the way I was raised and disciplined I know right from wrong.

Iowa State Univerity associate professor of psychology Douglas Gentile thinks music does affect the way children think. He wrote that surprisingly the sound of the music has more impact than the lyrics.

One study examined how different kinds of music affected the levels of anger and attitudes toward women in teenaged children. Three groups of kids listened to different types of music and lyrics. Gentile listed the music genres as heavy metal music with violent lyrics, heavy metal music with Christian themed lyrics and easy listening music. The kids who listened to the heavy metal music, regardless of the lyrical content, developed the same negative attitudes toward women and were angrier than the “easy-listening” kids.

When I’m at school or out somewhere and I see someone wearing something I don’t say “Hey, look at that girl’s revealing outfit, she must listen to Nicki Minaj or Lil’Kim.” The reason why I don’t jump to that conclusion is because for all I know the only songs she has on her iPod could be gospel. If I decided to wear skinny jeans to school it’s not because my favorite artist wears them but because I choose to wear them.

Sure, I may base an outfit off of someone I look up to but in order for that to be the case I would have to decide on doing that myself. I mean think about it. We can get the style of clothes we wear from a sibling or parent or even a close friend.

I think that the truth is some parents, schools and even the kids themselves need a scapegoat when something goes wrong. Kids would say ‘well the girl in the Lil’ Wayne video wore this,’ or ‘Hollywood Undead sings about hurting someone,’ to avoid getting in trouble for what they did wrong.
Parents and schools may say it because they don’t want others to talk about how they’re not doing their jobs right. So for me the answer is music does not affect the way children think or the way they act.