Music today comes in more forms and is used more frequently then anytime in our history. As in many years past it is available on the radio, tape, compact disk and is digitally encoded on microchips. One particularly strong use of music is used in advertising and movies. Therefore, it is obvious that music can convey extremely strong messages in a subliminal way. For this reason, the question must be asked, what impact does it have on youths today?
Due to changes in the society, federal laws, and affluence in America, youths have more leisure time than ever. Naturally, one of their favorite escapes is music. Since freedom of speech is a constitutional right, this right is assumed to likewise apply to music. Musical artists have used this right, and sometimes for the sake of shock value, produce music that conveys extreme levels of violence, hatred, and sexually graphic content. In this respect, it is being suggested as a strong influence in many different violent acts, such as the Columbine High School massacre. Should the music be controlled? And if so, who should control it?
Due to the citizens influence, the federal government has pressured the record companies to at least place a rating on their music similar to the movie industry. Should the record companies take a more active role in monitoring? In my opinion, maybe, in fairness to the artist, since they were signed onto a record label and are paid based upon their creativity. This generates profits for them and the company. Therefore, to think that either one will take the responsibility of limiting their work is not likely to happen, because would impact their income.

This leaves the question, should parents have the responsibility to monitor the music in which the children listen? In many cases, since they provide the income and the equipment to play the music, they have the responsibility and obligation to supervise and lead their children on a path of positive influences. The same youths who are able to bypass their parents control can equally bypass a recording industries control. When parents decide to take on the responsibility of having children, they must bear the responsibility of determining the influences in their childs life. Though this is not a perfect solution, it is more reasonable to expect more controls from parents then from profit-driven companies.

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Therefore, in a perfect society, industries would take the responsibility for their impact on their customers but if parents cannot influence, and help guide their children, then who should? Citizens (parents) cannot expect the government or industry to monitor and guide their children, if they are not willing to take the direct responsibility themselves. Steps are being taken through retail stores to help in solving this problem. For explicit music, Wal-Mart will only sell edited versions, and K-Mart will sell only with identification of 18 years and older. Therefore, parental influence is making a difference on monitoring.
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