Kids today are exposed to technology much earlier in life than past generations.
In many cases, children are able to operate devices, such as iPods, better than their parents – so it can be tricky to ensure that they’re not downloading inappropriate songs.
That said, there’s plenty of children-friendly digital music you can load onto your kids’ mp3 players/iPod. The internet has changed the way kids listen to and download music.
Kids get most of their music online
It used to be that children relied on their parents to buy their music for them, usually in the form of CDs or compact cassettes. Today, children are tech-savvy and most are fully capable of downloading digital music files from the Internet—contributing in large part to the 32 percent of all digital sales comprised of digital music downloads.
The Internet is the primary source of music for kids today, and in some cases, they don’t even need money to access music online. Free services like MySpace and Pandora make it possible to stream music online for free.
Children today rely on mp3 players and other devices
As of January 2009, 92 percent of students owned some type of media player. While it’s easy to keep tabs on what music your kids are listening to when you can see which CDs they own, gauging the full music selection of a teen or young child is more difficult when you’re navigating through thousands of songs on an iPod. When they’re using MySpace and similar platforms, it may not even be possible to tell which songs your kids have listened to.
Kids aren’t just listening to free music, but they’re buying digital music online, too—primarily with iTunes, used by 93 percent of kids today. Letting your children buy their own tracks from iTunes and other platforms means they could be buying music you wouldn’t approve of. According to stats from the FTC, 72 percent of kids have been able to purchase music labeled as “explicit content” without their parents’ permission.
How to ensure your kids are listening to appropriate music
You’re not going to stop your kids from listening to mp3s or streaming music online. But you can take steps to ensure that the music they’re listening to is age-appropriate.
- Provide ample “safe” tracks. By loading your kids’ devices with plenty of appropriate songs, they’ll be less likely to go out and try to secure their own tracks.
- Set rules for downloads. Be clear with your expectations, and let your kids know what type of music is permitted.
- Provide a music allowance. You can let your kids choose and download their own music by providing an allowance through services like iTunes. Doing so will allow you to go back and monitor which tracks they’ve purchased.
- Participate in listening to music with your kids. Younger children, especially, will get excited if you get involved, sing and dance with them. Build some enthusiasm for appropriate music styles to deter them from listening to inappropriate music.
What music is appropriate for your children?
What constitutes appropriate music is really up to you. Of course, it depends on your kids’ ages and interests, along with how responsible they are for their age levels. There are plenty of kid-friendly tracks on just about any digital music download platform. Here are a few safe examples for kids of varying ages.
- Young children (ages 3 to 8) – Choose music modelled after popular children’s television shows or familiar children’s tunes, such as tracks from compilations like 100 Sing-a-Long Songs for Kids or music from kid-focused bands, such as Recess Monkey.
- Pre-teens (ages 9 to 12) – Select popular music remixed in a kid-friendly format (e.g., without profanity), such as the music produced by Kidz Bop.
- Teenagers (ages 12 to 18) – Allow kids in this age group to listen to mainstream music, such as Katy Perry, that doesn’t contain vulgar language. Alternatively, purchase an app such as Clean Tunes from iTunes to strip profanity out of today’s most popular hits before your kids listen.