Perhaps the question should be for parents, “What is on your child’s mp3 player?” I recommend parents borrow their children’s mp3 player–unannounced–and listen to the library. Many parents might be shocked at their children’s listening habits. Young people may not even know what they are really listening to though they know every word.
What do I mean? When I was a kid my friends and I used to lip synch songs by one of our favorite bands. We would put on concerts in my neighbor’s basement and sing at the top of our lungs. It wasn’t until I was MUCH older that I actually understood the meaning of some of the songs and they were not appropriate things for a young person who is trying to please God to be singing. I tell my kids that I know the words to a lot of songs that I wish I did not know. No one explained the songs to us but the words were being written in our hearts.
Parents may ask, “I can’t understand the singer so how can I know if the lyrics are good or bad?” In a search engine, such as Google, type “lyrics” then the name of the song. If you don’t know the name of the song (though it should be displayed on the mp3 player), type some of the lyrics in quotes (i.e., “never caught a rabbit and you aint’ no friend of mine”) and you will most likely find the song you are seeking.
If you find music that is objectionable, do not explode! Ask your young person to read the lyrics with you and explain what he/she thinks the words mean. You will often find that they have no clue about the meaning or think that it means something completely different. Take the opportunity to point out what is objectionable and why and how to evaluate other music. Chances are your child got the song from a friend at school (who may not have known the meaning either). You will also quickly build a short list of artists and musical groups that the young person should avoid if they want to maintain a pure heart.
For you young people, if you are not sure what something means, ask your parents. They want to help you make good choices.