Music and Teens Today

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Today music is a necessity in many people's lives. People listen to music all the time, from students who listen to it while studying, to adults driving to work, and those who listen to music to plainly enjoy life. Personally, I am listening to iTunes on random while writing this. My point is everyday, almost everyone will encounter music weather intentionally or voluntarily it surrounds us. Music is used in many different ways; one people use it as an outlet of expression, another is a way to let their feelings out, and lastly people use music to identify with who they are. Nowadays, music has a major impact on teen's lives everywhere. Teens begin using music as ways of asserting their individuality and by breaking away from their parents and becoming more independent. Christenson (1994) feels that teen's interest in popular music is showing their departure of their parent's dependence and a new faithfulness in friendships among each other. With teen's new need for music poses the question of how does popular music affect their well-beings. But does music diminish their conscience and cause them to involve themselves on senseless acts of violence and debauchery or is it something for them to relate to. Looking at children and their development, if pre-teens and children as young as first grade have shown interests in popular music (Christenson et al.). In this research, of first to sixth graders the interest grew as their age did, as they got closer to adolescents their interest grew. Baker (2001) did research on pre-teen girls and their attraction to popular music. She found that even though it seems that young girls are fascinated with the boy bands and normal top 40 songs, some of them are still interested in listening to songs with explicit lyrics. Even in children music poses as a building block in their mental development, as they reach adolescents it begins to form media exposure and identities.

Although most of popular music is considered violent and sexual it is still a major part of teenage development. Demo (1981) connects teenagers expose to popular music as an outlet to the media. While listening to music is also a major part of the way they live. Teens listen to music while, doing homework, cleaning and driving. Teens also use music as therapy, "to relieve my tension or take my mind of things bothering me." (Demo et al.) Although Hansen and Hansen's (1991) research show teens are using music as a television substitute and there is an increase in all forms of popular music this leading to more assumptions for the media to create.

The Press today sees music lyrics as ways of provoking people into doing things that they aren't supposed to. Rien and Springer (1986) agree with the fact that popular music is built upon aggression. Yet, Demo's (et al.) study of high school juniors, the ones who felt their parents did not care about them or their lives were more likely to be depressed, anxious, and disturbed. These teens are the ones school officials say are involved in vandalism and theft. Now, is it music the only factor in teen's misbehavior or is it society's escape from of the truth. Media and society have used music many times to explain why a teen has done something he or she shouldn't have. Considine (1996) believes there is no proof of violent lyrics explaining people actions; the author uses an example of a Nevada lawsuit of two teens shooting themselves because of, "hidden messages" in a Judas Priest album. Yet these suits were proved irrelevant and dismissed. The public does not hear that it is dismissed just that the teens killed themselves because of the lyrics and not that the case was dismissed. Another case where the media coverage failed to mention an essential detail was in Ohio when a boy was playing with fire and burned his families home done and in the process killing his two year old sister. In news reports, they claimed the boy was mocking MTV's "Bevis and...
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