Music Censorship and the Impact on the Younger Generation Tyler CaccamoEnglish 102Mrs. LanhamDecember 19, 2017AbstractCensorship in music has been in debates for many years now. On one side there is the argument of restricting free speech, while the other side argues to censor the music for the children’s sake. One point is clear, and that is there has not been a definitive solution created to fix the issue.
One of the main problems with not having music censorship is that the negative influence uncensored music can have on young children and teens is devastating. First, with the exposure to drugs and alcohol at an early age combined with the immoral ideas taught to this same demographic can lead to a poor outcome in adulthood. My proposed solution to this problem is that the Federal Communications Commission should enforce stricter rules and punishments onto radio stations that play inappropriate musical content that is uncensored. Without taking these precautions the impact that music today on the younger generation will be a major problem. This is a concern for many parents for the simple fact that most parents would rather their child to stay in school and get an education rather than them becoming a drug addict or an alcoholic. Music Censorship and the Impact on the Younger GenerationThe Federal Communications Commission(FCC) controls what can and cannot be played on the airwaves and it has done so for a long time. After the passing of the Communication Act of 1934 the FCC was created.
Since then there has been a constant debate over censorship on the radio. The FCC’s goal is to make the radio safe to listen to and available to everyone in the United States without discrimination against race, religion, gender, etc. The FCC does this by censoring the play of explicit music in two ways. The most common form of censorship is with bleeping and this is where words deemed as bad by the FCC are replaced with a beep sound. The other form of censorship is where a song is considered to have so much explicit content that the song is banned from airplay.
In addition, if the radio stations do not comply with the censorship demands they can also be fined by the FCC, but even with all of the current censorship, it is not enough. This is because censorship today does not address the references to drugs, alcohol, and immoral ideas. This is why so many children and adolescents are affected by this because there are many times when parents are not able to control what their children listen to. The importance of this is that exposing the younger generation to this kind of music can be prevented with increased censorship. Furthermore, the biggest thing at stake is the future lives of the children because if they are exposed to the bad concepts of these songs they can be corrupted at an early age. My solution to the censorship problem is for the Federal Communications Commission to increase censorship and create stricter guidelines and punishments for radio stations when they play music that is considered too explicit for younger audiences. The guidelines for what will be considered too explicit will have two major violations. The first and the most obvious will be explicit content like cuss words and discriminatory language.
Radio stations will need to use bleep censoring to avoid any violations. Furthermore, the other major violation will be playing songs that have references to drugs, alcohol, violence, or any form of discrimination. For, the first guideline to avoid any violations the radio station would need to use bleep censoring; however, for the second guideline, any song that violates the terms will be banned from all radio play. If either of these guidelines is not followed then responsible radio station will be required to pay a hefty fine within thirty days of the offense, or risk the chance of being shut down. With the stricter guidelines and punishments, the radio will become safe for an audience to listen to the radio.Lyrics Promote Drug UseImproper censorship of music with hidden drug references has influenced the mindset of drugs in a negative way. Instead of, teaching the younger generation that drugs are bad for children, certain genres of music do the opposite. One of the major genres of music that has many references to drug use is rap music.
The main problem with the current censorship of rap music with drug references is that radio stations only use bleep censoring. Which is good for getting rid of the cussing, but still leaves the drug references to be heard by the younger audience. The significance of this is that rap is one of the most popular genres of music shown by the fact that: A National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) -sponsored survey of adult music preferences in the United States found that rap/hip hop music was among the fastest growing music genres over the past 10 years, increasing substantially from 12% of the adult population to 17%. In 2002, 37 million adults listened to music in this genre. (Herd, 2008, pp. 169)While Herd’s facts show the staggering amount of adults that listen to rap music it still does not show how many children listen to this genre. Furthermore, the more that adults listen to rap the more likely younger kids are to listen to the same music. This is because kids look up to adults as role models and they want to be like their role models causing the children to have similar interests to these role models.
In addition, this also leads to the popularity of rap music in relation to the changes in presence and attitude towards drugs.Figure 1Figure 2Note. Table I and IV show the presence and the the change in attitude towards drugs in rap songs. The data in tables I and IV are from “Changes in drug use prevalence in rap music songs, 1979–1997” by D. Herd, 2008, Addiction Research and Theory, (16)2 pp.
171-172. Copyright 2008 by Taylor & Francis Ltd.Looking at table one it is shown that the percentage of songs with drugs has drastically increased going from eleven percent to sixty-nine percent over the course of eighteen years. These findings show that over the years while rap has become popular the references to drugs have also become more popular. This should be a concern for parents for the simple fact that their child is at an increased chance of being exposed to drugs at an early age.
Another alarming statistics for parents is changing in attitude towards drugs in rap songs. As shown in table four the percent for positive attitudes in rap songs has increased from sixteen percent to fifty-eight percent. While the percent of negative attitudes in rap songs has decreased to twenty-four percent from sixty-eight percent. This indicates that even with the use of current censorship the attitude towards drugs in becoming more positive.
At first glance, this may not seem like a problem but with the change in attitude, popularity, and prevalence of drugs in rap music all mixed together it creates a real problem. This is why the guidelines and punishments on censorship need to be improved. With more songs supporting the use of drugs and fewer songs dismissing the use of drugs it hurts the younger generation by feeding them harmful information. Furthermore, with these bad influences in music, it can lead the younger audiences to poor outcomes of adulthood. Poor Outcomes of AdulthoodContinuing on, the effects of the popularity and changing attitudes towards drugs can be devastating for the future of the younger generation.
While these negative effects are currently a problem they can be fixed with proper censorship. One of the main problems is with how early exposure to these sensitive subjects can affect the children. The exposure to drugs can start the manifestation of many terrible outcomes of adulthood. This is depicted in a study done by researchers claiming that “early-exposed adolescents were at an increased risk for the adult outcomes of substance dependence, herpes infection, early pregnancy, failure to obtain educational qualifications, and criminal convictions.”(Odgers et al., 2013). The experiments also showed that there was almost a two to three times increase in these different outcomes.
These discoveries show the startling fact that when people are exposed to drugs at an early age it can have damaging effects on the person’s future. Also, studies like this show the correlation between the change in attitude and prevalence of drugs in rap music compared with the effects of the early exposure. This should be a concern for parents because almost all parents do not want their kids to be more likely to lead a life filled with substance abuse or criminal convictions.
Even if the people affected by early drug exposure want to change their life it will be hard because these same people are also prone to have failures to obtain proper education requirements. So, even if they want to make a better life for themselves they will have less of a chance to be able to. This is further reason for censorship to be increased; in fact, with more censorship in music it will be easier to prevent the early exposure to drugs to children.Discrimination in MusicAnother problem with the bad censorship of music is that along with the early exposure to drugs, music also teaches ideas of misogyny and materialism. These immoral ideas are scattered heavily throughout rap music This should be a concern for parents for the same reason that early drug exposure is and that is because when children hear these ideas at a young age it heavily influences their future. The children will be taught that there is no problem with treating women poorly; as well as, the idea that money is the most important aspect of life. Now, with the ideas of misogyny in music, it will fill the youth with the idea that their treatment of women does not matter. In the words of a scholar:It is important to consider the effects that a proliferation of these images can have on male, as well as female viewers.
One study found that the perpetuation of misogyny in rap music videos can lead to the degradation of black women but not necessarily white women by white audiences(Conrad, Dixon, and Zhang, 2009)In other words, the effects of the objectification of women in music on the younger generation can lead to the mindset that degrading women is not a problem. The effects that these songs that are not censored enough are unacceptable because this is an issue that can be stopped. The way this problem could be prevented is the previously mentioned second form of censorship where songs that promote the idea of misogyny will be banned from all airplay on the radio. Another issue with the misogyny in music is that other forms of discrimination can be promoted within the music unintentionally. This is seen when Conrad et al. (2009) claimed that depictions of the objectification of women lead to white audiences degrading black women, but not white women. In saying this, it shows that when misogyny is shown as being ok other forms of discrimination such as racism can be taught.
This should be a concern for parents because when ideas of discrimination are learned at a young age it is hard to change the ideas of those who discriminate. This is another reason why the guidelines and punishments should be stricter for not properly censoring music. Counterclaims At this point with all of the reasons for music censorship it seems as though most people would agree with making censorship stricter. However, that is not the case there are many oppositions to the censorship of music and some of the reasons for this opposition are valid.
One challenging point some may make against my argument is that making the censorship rules stricter will impinge on the musical artist’s freedom of musical creation. This can be considered a valid statement because regular people are allowed to say and express themselves however they so desire. Despite that, popular musical artists and regular people do not speak through the same medium because an artist’s words could possibly reach millions of more people than a regular person. In addition, the artist can create freely make music with explicit content even with the stricter guidelines. They just need to expect it to be censored or not played on the radio because they can still sell uncensored music in stores and online it is just the radio where their music will be censored. This may seem unfair to artists because this is how they make a living and reducing the exposure they receive from the radio could harm their profits. The benefits the younger generation get is priceless due to the fact that by censoring the music they will have less of a chance to be exposed to drugs and discrimination at an early age. Another counter-argument to music censorship is that some of the songs that would be in the category of being banned have a positive message.
This can be true with many songs from artists such as Eminem, Tupac, Nas, and many more. Furthermore, the artists within this category have created some of the most meaningful and impactful songs of the past few decades. However, the younger audience that some of the songs will reach can end up being influenced negatively. One example of this is the artist Hopsin’s Ill Mind of Hopsin 6. In this track, Hopsin raps about a friend who lost his life to an overdose of meth.
The overall message of the song is that as a friend Hopsin should have stopped his friend from taking the path of doing drugs. While this is a good message there are parts of the song that can create controversy when thinking of children listening to it. One of the first problems with the songs is that it has constant references to meth.
According to (Odgers et al., 2013) If any young children are exposed to these drugs they will be more likely to have bad outcomes of adulthood. Another problem is the song vividly describes sensitive subjects like overdosing and seeing a friend dead.
With all of these problems, it is not hard to see why songs like this should be banned from radio play. Parents should be the most worried about their children hearing these songs because of the negative effects the songs can have.ConclusionIn conclusion, there are problems with the way censorship is being dealt with currently. Bleep censoring is not enough to protect the children who hear the explicit music. The Federal Communication Commission needs to create stricter the guidelines and punishments for censorship on the radio. Any radio station that does not follow these new rules will be heavily fined and could face the threat of being shut down.
What is at stake is the future of the younger generation because without proper censorship children will be exposed to drugs and be taught immoral ideas. Parents should be taking action to protect their children because if nothing is done there is a higher percentage chance that children will have a poor outcome of adulthood. So, what is more important listening to the music you like or children becoming drug addicts? ReferencesConrad, K., Dixon, T. L., & Zhang, Y. (2009). Controversial Rap Themes, Gender Portrayals and Skin Tone Distortion: A Content Analysis of Rap Music Videos.
Journal Of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 53(1), 134-156. doi:10.1080/08838150802643795Herd, D. (2008). Changes in drug use prevalence in rap music songs, 1979-1997. Graphic.
Addiction Research & Theory, 16(2), 171-172. doi:10.1080/16066350801993987Herd, D. (2008). Changes in drug use prevalence in rap music songs, 1979-1997. Addiction Research & Theory, 16(2), 167-180. doi:10.
1080/16066350801993987Hopson, M. J. (2014, July 18). Ill Mind of Hopsin 7Video File. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QBsA2ETp7JAOdgers, C.
L., Caspi, A., Nagin, D. S., Piquero, A.
R., Slutske, W. S., Milne, B. J.
, Dickson, N., Poulton, R., & Moffitt, T. E.
(2008). Is It Important to Prevent Early Exposure to Drugs and Alcohol Among Adolescents? Psychological Science, 19(10), 1037–1044. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02196.
xMusic Censorship and the Impact on the Younger Generation Thesis: The FCC should enforce stricter rules and punishments onto radio stations that play inappropriate musical content that is uncensored.I. Introduce the concept of music censorship. A. Describe the history of music censorship. 1. What changes have been made to the laws regarding music censorship? 2.
How has music censorship changed in relation to the radio? B. State the problem of the current situation of music censorship. 1. Summarize the reasons from the body paragraphs. 2. Explain how the reasons relate to my argument C. State my Proposal.
II. Lyrics encourage the use of drugs. A. The music will expose kids to these substances at an early age. 1. The kids will develop harmful addictions. 2. Early exposure creates a higher chance of poor outcomes of adulthood.
III. Music can teach kids morally wrong concepts. A. Music can teach Discrimination. 1. The idea of Misogyny. 2. Racism can be hidden in music.
B. Another concept is materialism. 1. Money is the most important thing in the world. 2.
Money cannot buy happiness but it can support it.IV. Introduce opposing arguments of music censorship and counter. A. The impingement on the artist’s freedom of creation.
1. It hinders the artists from expressing themselves.2. Artists should not be treated differently from everyone else. B. Certain songs that are considered inappropriate contain positive messages 1. Talk about a song that is included in this category2.
Talk about how while there is a positive message the lyrics still can negatively influence kids