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Does music affect teenage behaviour?

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Music is often blamed for influencing particular behaviour but does it really do this? With music as a big part of youth culture, it seems that each teenager has a “soundtrack for their life”, but are they innocently listening to their favourite tunes or is there something more to it?

In the media, it seems that when something goes wrong in a community, this is usually blamed on certain groups of people who are associated with particular genres of music such as rap, hard rock, heavy metal, as these people are seen to be strongly influenced by the music they listen to.

The question is: Can the content of a song influence one’s actions and/or behaviour?
Well, as the popularity of music (particularly hip hop) amongst the youth grows, the number of teens who are becoming violent, more sexually-active and who are experimenting is steadily increasing.

There are many forms of music, classical, rock R n B, hip hop. Music has become a significant part of our lives and the effect of music has been studied for many years.

Evidence will point to music having both positive and negative effects on teens’ minds.

A prevalent notion exists that music can improve a child’s intelligence.

Music training facilitates cognitive skills, including reading and creativity.

Music has a calming effect on an individual’s life emotions and helps us to relax and refocus.
Music has been shown to reduce heart rate, breathing and stress hormones in stressful situations.

However, music also has harmful effects. Certain types of music or more specifically violent lyrics are believed to have a negative impact on teens.

Research has been done and has shown how an 18-year-old Phillip Morton in 1986 hung himself while listening to the songs Goodbye cruel world and Waiting for the worms by Pink Floyd playing in the background.

With the high strung guitar, vibrating drums and destructive themes playing, rock music can increase the mood of the individual listening to it and promote antisocial behaviour.

In terms of hip hop music, sexually-explicit lyrics and songs can have a negative impact on the thoughts and feeling of adolescents.

Some theorise that listening to it for a long time, especially with headphones on, can cause damage to the psyche of these young and impressionable minds, further sensitising their attitudes towards sex. In order to overcome these negative influence, parents must monitor the music their children listen to.

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