I was recently put in a position where the question of what is appropriate music for our youth came into play. Just to put definition on the discussion, youth means 17 and 18 year old people in this case.  Before we can get into the heart of the matter, we first have to look at the age group.

The young people in our area are eclectic in their musical tastes.  They listen to country, rock, and top 40.  They know all the songs in the genres and then some.  The reason for this is simple.  The music from all of these different formats relates to some portion of their lifestyle.  That's what makes the hits.

The music you hear on the radio is played on the radio because the audience wants to hear it.  Sure, what you listen to is a personal choice, but what gets played on the air is designed to appeal to a majority of the listening audience.  And as I look back at my days as a youth, my parents didn't always appreciate my taste in music.

So today, just like generations before us, the music is bolder.  And just like the generations before, it doesn't necessarily turn into actions.  I was well over the age of legal majority before trying "one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer".  And just because the radio got turned up when "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"  or Poison's "Talk Dirty To Me" came on doesn't mean those actions were being taken.  Looking at today's hits like Rihanna's "S & M" is the same thing.  But as parents, we have a tendency to lose our minds.

Our kids are growing up.  You try to shelter them, but that's burying your head in the proverbial sand.  You think you're protecting them, but really all your doing is making it so you don't know about it.  Believe it or not, the fact that these songs are so popular means these are NOT foreign ideas to the youth of today.

I'm not saying we should endorse kids doing the things that the artists sing about.  Rather have frank discussions with them about what the music means to them.  I think you'll be relieved and find that it's no different that us listening to the Beastie Boys "Fight For Your Right".

In short: Talk to your kids, get a clue and get a grip.  You have more influence than the media.