Dear Parent of the Kid in My Kid’s Camp:
I dropped my daughter off this morning to your child singing away. What a beautiful voice she has, but holy crap, how does she know that song?!?
Your little girl — what is she? Seven or eight? — was singing Rihanna’s S&M. What? You don’t remember the words? I’ll provide some of them below:
Cause I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me
I looked at the counselors as she sang the first line. “Oh, my gosh, totally inappropriate for camp!” They just shrugged. Your child was singing at the top of her lungs. She was putting on a show! Then came the second part of the chorus. Wow, I hope she doesn’t know what that means, I thought. I didn’t even realize that was the actual lyric until your little girl sang it so articulately. (Yes, I thought, someone let her play this one over and over and over again to capture every nuance.)
By the time she got to the end of the song I decided you were a complete and total idiot. I wanted to smack you upside the head while screaming, “NOT APPROPRIATE!” See, parents like me (what, you say I am a prude?) TURN THIS SONG OFF when it comes on the radio. We do not put it on our kid’s iPod. We discuss it with other parents at parties nodding our heads and saying how it’s not proper music for the under 14-set. Heck, it’s not exactly proper music for the over 14-set, either.
As your daughter thankfully finished her song (and I made a mental note to mention something to the camp director), I shook my head and felt sorry for you. Your kid is probably going to be one of those kids who has sex early. What? I’m crazy? No, actually, I’m not. A 2009 University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that, “teenagers who preferred popular songs with degrading sexual references were more likely to engage in intercourse or in pre-coital activities.”
“This study demonstrates that, among this sample of young adolescents, high exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex in popular music was independently associated with higher levels of sexual behavior. In fact, exposure to lyrics describing degrading sex was one of the strongest associations with sexual activity…These results provide further support for the need for additional research and educational intervention in this area.”
(For what it’s worth, another study found that kids who listen to music that contain references to drug use also use drugs at a higher rate.) Maybe you didn’t know how influential music is over our kids. Maybe you think it’s cute to hear your little blondie belting out Rihanna. (I’ll admit, she’s got a phenomenal voice). But unfortunately, you’re doing a huge disservice to your kid and all the kids in that camp who had to listen to that inappropriate song. Maybe next week you could suggest she sing something off of the newest Kidz Bop album?