Music is something that people come across every single day. With the advancement of technology, it has even spread further.
Just take a walk in the streets and you will see people, mostly the youth with gadgets in their hands and earphones to their ears. Sometimes you fail to talk to acquaintances on the roads because they are too preoccupied to hear you.
But should parents let their children listen to any type of music? What effect can music have on children? Some lyrics have good meaning and can help heal the soul, but some are so offensive to the point of making you cringe as you listen.
For Tina, a working mother of five, it is important to regulate what children listen to, especially during their teenage years.
“Parents have to set guidelines and know what is appropriate and what is not. Modern societal behaviour plays an enormous role in dictating what teenagers listen to. The pace of technology makes the regulation almost impossible to achieve,” she said.
Although parents may control what goes on in their house, children can always get them from outside with peers and the internet.
According to Pastor Gabriel Gondwe of Living Waters Church in Zomba, the best way parents can control their children’s music is for them to listen to the music together and discuss it.
He says music can influence the way children think and behave, adding some can become violent, depressed or inspired depending on what music they listen to.
“Parents who mean well for their children should regulate their freedom as well because God instructs parents to train up children in the way they should go, according to Proverbs 22: 6. Training has discipline and responsibility attached,” he said.
“As a musician I know types of music that are composed with ulterior motives which can have a bad influence on children if unchecked. Some music is composed by either people involved in cultic practices and is meant to recruit others into that group or people who are frustrated with life and can easily have the same effect on children.”
Sandra Mapemba, a psychologist based in Blantyre, says music is just one of the many complex hobbies parents are wary of, but over supervising their music may just drive children further away.
“Classical music is known to be good for mental development in babies and smaller children. Other forms of music are more about association to peers or themselves in teens.
“Parents may not approve because some music does not reflect the values being instilled, but letting their teens explore is also part of the development process to independence,” she said.
Mapemba suggests putting boundaries such as headphones and listening in their own space.
“Explain why you are setting these boundaries. For instance, that you find the foul language offensive. Do not make it about them, but about you. Banning music at home will simply lead them to do it outside the home.
“Most studies show that there is no direct cause and effect; lyrics and behaviour, but if too restrictive, teens may just engage in negative behaviour to get back at their parents. Remember, let them explore, but set boundaries so that parents still have control and respect,” she said.