What Are Your Children Listening To?

What Are Your Children Listening To?

by Dr. Curt Brannan

There is an old saying in classical education circles that, “Mozart makes you smart.”  What educators mean by this is that listening to certain kinds of music can influence openness to learning.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to Christians.  The emphasis on music throughout scripture is clear; even overwhelming! Though we don’t have the actual music, the Psalms-with their amazing lyrics couched in the poetry of Israel-still move us to a sense of His presence and truth. These were the songs of Israel, sung and repeated often, bringing truth, not just to minds, but to hearts.  Music touches lives at a level the logic of prose can never equal.

Music then, ingrains itself in our very existence.  Because of this, we are told to “make melody in our hearts,” integrating the wisdom of God into our very being, by singing and “addressing one another” with “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” This is one way of letting “the word of Christ dwell in [us] richly.”  (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16)  Likewise we are warned about self indulgence and singing “idle songs.” (Amos 6:4, 5)

This week I ran across a study that is now several years old.  Note that the Rand Corporation, a research and think tank not a Christian organization, did this.  Listen to their findings as quoted in a pediatrics journal.

“A Rand study found that youth who listened to music containing more degrading sexual content were more likely to subsequently initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced levels of noncoital sexual activity, even after controlling for other characteristics that might explain this behavior.  Researchers concluded, ‘This result is consistent with sexual-script theory and suggest that cultural messages about expected sexual behavior among males and females may underlie the effects.  Reducing the amount of degrading sexual content could help delay the onset of sexual behavior.’1″

Can you see the impact of this given the music that bombards our children today? Some of us can’t even understand the words – but they do!  Honestly, do you know what kind of music your children listen to? What are they downloading to their iPhones?  What are they streaming?  One thing I can guarantee, its message IS ingraining itself into their hearts.

The source from which I quote the study above also quotes an 18 year old “rapper” speaking of his music.  He says, “Girls are obviously losing their virginity at 15, 16.  I’m not promoting that, but [my new songs] are basically talking about me becoming a man.”2 (Note that some studies claim loss of virginity actually comes even earlier.)

We delude ourselves if we really believe the music to which children listen doesn’t impact them.  And that is as true of the parent as it is the child. Why are we so willing to sync our lives with a culture that challenges all we believe?  Have we allowed its ideas to seep into the depths of our hearts? Pray our children will never learn evil from listening to “our” music or watching our example. And, may we never be indifferent or too busy to guard them as best we can in all that touches them so deeply – especially what they hear and see.

1“Exposure to Degrading Versus Nondegrding Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior Among Youth.” Steven C. Martino,

PhD, Rebecca L. Collins, PhD, Mark N. Elliott, PhD.  Pediatrics. Volume 118, Number 2, August 2006.

2(Vibe, September 2007)