Friday, August 11, 2006


I dialed the 17 year old mom's number to tell her something about her baby. The phone clicked and in a coarse sound with lots of static a song played "Ooooh, ooooh, come into my bedroom...." Is it just me, or is that perhaps not the most appropriate song for a greeting on a teen mom's phone?

It puts me in mind of a study just published in the August issue of Pediatrics. The study looked at the sexual habits of a group of teenagers. It surveyed them at baseline and then two or three years later. It found that the kids who listened to music with sexually degrading lyrics were the ones who increased their sexual activity the most. Please note, lyrics about sex and romance didn't increase the sexual activity; it had to be degrading lyrics, like lyrics that talked about women as whores - or ho's- and other misogynist things.

Perhaps you saw this reported in the lay press. It was widely reported that sexually degrading lyrics caused kids to increase their sexual activity, but that is not what the study showed. It said that listening to such lyrics was associated with increased sexual activity, and association is a horse of a different color than causation, although that distinction is often too subtle for the lay press. It's very possible that the degrading lyrics didn't cause the increased activity. Maybe it's just that kids who were going to have increased earlier sex activity anyway were the same ones who happened to like such music.

Mind you, I suspect that such music probably does at least partially encourage kids to have earlier sex. It's pretty well established that watching violence on TV makes kids more violent, and I think the same is true for sex on TV, although I don't keep up with that literature. But this study didn't prove it. Nevertheless, I'm glad my kids like the Barenaked Ladies, who in spite of their name sing pretty clean songs, instead of some "artist" who prefers to sing about women as rough sex objects.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

i love BNL too. =)

5:28 PM  
Blogger NakedTomato said...

Not so long ago I heard a song on the radio, the chorus of which was "if it wasn't for date rape I would never get laid." I was shocked. Knowing that kids and teens listen to that worries me. A lot.

But on a positive note...I too like the Barenaked Ladies :o)

11:55 PM  
Blogger SmartBlkWoman said...

I used to have Kelis singing "my milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, and they're's better than yours! Damn right! It's better than yours, I can teach you but I have to charge..." on my phone as a ringtone. My mom insisted that I change it though because she said it sounded unladylike.

This girl probably doesn't have the kind of mother that would tell her that her message sounds unprofessional and immature.

1:30 AM  
Blogger neonataldoc said...

Thanks, people. SBW, you're probably right about the teen's mother. Naked tomato, imagine what the lyrics of songs they don't play on the radio can be!

10:55 AM  
Blogger stockingup99 said...

Thanks Neonatal Doc,

It is encouraging to hear even one doctor recognize the difference between association and causation. I have seen too many studies sited in the press which make bad inductive leaps.

My favorite example is when they said breastfeeding causes ricketts. Actually I feel that moms who follow doctors' directions, are more likely to follow doctors' directions. The recomendation that babies under six months get no sun at all, is the likely cause.

How 'bout that recent news that sunblock prevents skin cancer, but the resultant vitamin D deficiency causes the deadly cancers?

We are designed to make Vitamin D from sunlight. How come I only heard sunblock blocks vitamin D production for the first time this year?

Sun is good, burns are bad.

8:03 AM  

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