Are different behavior choices linked to music?

M. Menefee, Business Manager

You make me heartless, you make me heartless, you make me…”

In Kodak Black’s song “Loyal” these lyrics repeat over and over again. Even though you might get hooked to it by the beat, just try listening to the very powerful lyrics it may hold. Whether people realize it or not,  the lyrics are being drummed into their mind, too.

Music can affect behavior in teens because every genre of music gives a message. Whether it’s wanting to do drugs or fall into depression that message will be planted in their minds. So, do messages matter? Absolutely.

According to a new report in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, “1 out of 3 popular songs of all genres contain explicit references to drug or alcohol use.” Most teenagers listen to about 2.5 hours of music per day, so kids who listen to popular music on popular stations take in about dozens of references to alcohol, drugs, with every hour of music they listen to.

Most teenagers listen to about 2.5 hours of music per day”

Studies have also shown that media messages have a huge impact on childhood risky behaviors. This means students and their siblings may end up changing dramatically, for better or worse, depending on what they are exposed to.

NY Times blogger Tara Parker-Pope, believes that, “when kids are exposed to pictures of smoking in movies that child may end up picking up the bad habit.” Music is not the only medium that sends messages to young people. Movies also have the potential to change the way a person behaves.  Children might end up smoking because that’s all they will be used to watching. This is also the same for alcohol usage in movies. Unlike movies, however, music is easier to access and can be ready at the tap of a button or click of a mouse.

Music tends to affect teenagers and their emotions, how they view the world, how it affects themselves as well as their peers. Whatever messages that music is giving them, there’s a great chance they’ll want to apply that message in what they do.


Examples of the influence of music

So let’s say you’re listening to hip-hop artist Youngboy NBA. It’s possible that a young person looking for someone to look up to is going to want to live the lifestyle this artist  talks about because you love his music so much. Whereas if your listening to gospel music artist Kirk Franklin, a fan may want to live the same way he is living because he loves Franklin’s music so much.

Music can be very motivational, help inspire people, or even calm and relax you, but it just depends on what type you enjoy. Heavy metal, hardcore rap, hip hop, country, and hard rock have had the most negative effects on teens. 

“Questionable or explicit lyrics and messages of these genres, along with music videos have destructive ideas, contribute to glamorization of drugs, alcohol abuse, suicide, violent or even inappropriate messages,” a NY Times blogger wrote. In fact, studies even show that teen males that watch a lot of hip hop, heavy metal, or even hard rock music videos more likely will behave with hostility toward their peers, treat women more aggressively.

Out of 18 teens who watch hardcore videos for more than 14 hours a week, 14 of them were found three times more likely to fight with a teacher, 2.5 times more likely to get arrested, and 1.5 times more likely to use drugs and be sexually active.

“I don’t think we should underestimate the power of music,” Dr. Michael Rich, MD, MPH said in a statement published by Children’s Hospital Boston . “Music touches the limbic system (emotional system) of our brain which is actually slower,” he explained.

While many students have the freedom to listen to whatever type of music they want,  it may be a good idea to consider this: With all the statistics that show there is clearly a connection between music and behavior, are you really willing to risk your future?