“Musical Key to Unlocking Teenage Wasteland”

Mrs. Lovejoy: \"Won\'t somebody please think of the children?!\"

In Australian newspaper The Age, an article titled Musical Key to Unlocking Teenage Wasteland took the results of a study in the most recent Australasian Psychiatry journal and created a chart which seems designed to make parents paranoid about the music their teenagers listen to. I’ve reproduced the chart below:

Your Sounds: What Studies Say:
Pop Conformists, overly responsible, role-conscious, struggling with sexuality or peer acceptance.
Heavy Metal Higher levels of suicidal ideation, depression, drug use, self-harm, shoplifting, vandalism, unprotected sex.
Dance Higher levels of drug use regardless of socio-economic background.
Jazz / Rhythm and blues Introverted misfits, loners.
Rap Higher levels of theft, violence, anger, street gang membership, drug use and misogyny.

I must be severely screwed up, as my music collection has healthy doses of all the above!

Buried in the middle of the article is a statement by the author of the published study: “it’s important to point out that music doesn’t cause these behaviours. It’s more a case of teenagers who may have a mental illness or are involved in these antisocial behaviours being drawn to certain types of music.”

The remainder of the article is just the same sort of freak-out fuel for parents that’s been around since the dawn of rock and roll.

Recommended Reading

In this Southern Spotlight article, Professor Kevin Dettmar observes that rock and pop music have historically been attacked during moments of national crisis: “fears of communism and greater teen independence in the 1950s; anti-war movements in the late 1960s and early 1970s; concerns with lyrics and formation of the Parents Music Resource Center in the mid-1980s; or the emergence of rap and hip-hop music today.”

“If you look carefully at those moments, you’ll find that we are not dealing with the real issues,” he said. “We are displacing a lot of nervousness, insecurity or anxiety onto rock ‘n’ roll. It becomes a scapegoat for bigger issues and bigger problems.”

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