What your children are listening to....
A concerned parent recently wrote to a local Perth community newspaper:
SONG UNNECESSARY (Canning Times, 15th March 2011)
Having just collected my 10 year old daughter from after-school care, I could not believe what I was hearing when we tuned into a more “popular station” that was playing a Rhianna song entitled S&M. (see Rihanna S&M Lyrics here)
I am not a prude but this kind of trashy garbage is totally unnecessary with its inappropriate, sexual lyrics.
Why is there no radio station aimed at our pre-teens so that they can enjoy their style of music without their innocence being compromised? I am concerned for children who are constantly bombarded with adult life experiences at every turn. Please, let our children be children.
Name and address supplied
A week later the Canning Times printed our response:
There are many parents who share the concerns of the writer of the letter Song unnecessary (Canning Times, 15th March), with regard to the totally unsuitable music and in particular, Rihanna's song S&M being aired on some radio stations.
Ironically in a recent online article, TV and radio personality, Wendy Harmer writes that she was driving her young daughter, listening to the radio when a song came on called "dirty talk" and into the song both Wendy and her daughter "lunged" to turn it off. Wendy pointed out that the song with its themes of group sex and violence - and Rihanna's "S&M" which contains the lyrics: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me" - are unsuitable for broadcast at breakfast. She also points out that "little girls who dream of being princesses do not deserve this future: being appraised as chained sex objects".
In a music review by Ben O'Shea, The West Australian, on Ke$ha's recent performance in Perth, writes, "Simulated sex acts, a giant penis, cannibalism and frequent swearing - such are the highlights of a Ke$ha show" and his concerns in his review were about the parents who allowed their young teenage daughters to see Ke$ha's performance. (See Kesha Cannibal Lyrics here)
There is no doubt that pop culture either in music or TV sitcoms is moving into depraved areas and the problem is there are no boundaries in depravity - in fact it is an abyss.
A US study by Rand Corp researcher, Steven Martino found that teens who listen to music with raunchy sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs. In fact, recently there was an Australian federal government inquiry into the sexualisation of children where concerns of the entertainment media were raised.
The growing community concern with regard to the issue the premature sexualization of children and the objectification of women is evidenced by the emergence of groups such as kidsfree2Bkids and the Australian Women's Forum, exposing the dangers of the sexualisation phenomenon, which is rightly seen as a form of exploitation.
Media standards whether in radio, television or the internet have slipped so low that trash seems to be the new norm - but it doesn't have to be. We live in a democracy where we have the right to complain to lift those standards up to a more sophisticated level and one wonders if self-regulation of those industries has failed. The mere "turning it off", doesn't work anymore simply because it will be there next time - and worse.
While radio stations are self regulating, they are required to do so, based on guidelines set by ARIA. These guidelines are based on what is “deemed” to be acceptable by community standards. This means that unless the relevant authorities receive complaints, the material is deemed acceptable and the guidelines continue to be stretched further and further every time they are reviewed. This is what has been happening in the past and what will continue to happen if parents don’t start complaining.
Parents have every right to be concerned about the lyrics of some of the music being aired and we would urge you to lodge complaints to both the radio stations and the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) when this occurs. This can be done through our website.
Paul Hotchkin, president
Media Standards Australia
February 2009, Rihanna’s then boyfriend, Chris Brown punched Rihanna in the face causing extensive damage and Chris Brown was then charged with assault. What is quite incredulous is that Rihanna is reported to be visiting sex shops and singing S&M (Sadism & Masochism) - Masochism is getting sexually aroused by fantasies about being humiliated, beaten, tied up or otherwise tortured. Sadism is getting sexually aroused by incurring humiliation, beating, tying up or otherwise torturing. Sado-Masochism is the combination of Sadism and Masochism in a complementary manner.
Rihanna’s raunchy video S&M was banned in 11 countries and she is also getting poor ticket sales in the U.S where she will be forced to cancel the tour. She is also being sued by a photographer who claims that she stole images for her video.
So here are some questions.
Does Rihanna sound like a victim singing about how good S&M is when she sings – “Now the pain is my pleasure cause nothing could measure”….. "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but chains and whips excite me"? Why isn’t she warning and helping other “victims” of abuse in her music? (See Rihanna S&M Lyrics)
Was Chris Brown completely at fault?
Obviously only Chris Brown and Rihanna can answer those questions but what we do know is that pop music is worse than ever! See also Rihanna Rolling Stone interview about her semi-autobiographical hit single S&M!
But the biggest question of all is...........
WHO IS PROTECTING OUR CHILDREN?
THE AUSTRALIAN SENATE LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE IS CONDUCTING AN INQUIRY INTO THE FILM AND LITERATURE CLASSIFICATION SCHEME
Our concerns are quite extensive in all facets of the media and clearly self regulation has let the Australian families and children down. The blame should not soley be on the entertainment industry but parents need to be proactive in what their children see and listen to. This includes setting boundaries such as no mobile phones or computers in bedrooms and very limited time watching TV and on social network sites such as Facebook!
(See our Submission)
(see also transcript of our teleconference to the Inquiry)
WHY AUSTRALIA SHOULD NOT INTRODUCE AN R18+ RATING
FOR COMPUTER GAMES!
For quite a few years now, there has been an ongoing push by gamers and the gaming industry for Australia to introduce an R18+ rating for computer games. Their argument has been that Australia is the only country that does not have an R18+ rating for computer games and that we are behind the rest of the world. But what if we were not behind but actually leading other countries?
The other argument is that while everyone, including gamers and the industry, acknowledges that children should be protected by certain entertainment material - why can't adults have access to such material?
It is with this argument in mind that we decided to research and find out why can't adults have the R18+ rating. What we found was that in the countries that have the R18+ rating for computer games, it was the adults who were committing the copycat crimes. Further, those in the countries who have concerns about such material are from law enforcement, judicial positions and family groups.
More-so, while there is an incredible amount of research about how people are influenced by sexual and violent content, psychologists have warned that those people who come from violent backgrounds will be more attracted by violent material in entertainment media and take that violence out into the streets.
We all know by media reports, that there is a huge rise in violence in the streets. What we have to ask ourselves, do we want more?
There also seems to be a lack of knowledge by gamers of how the Classification system actually works and very few would even know that it works in line with our democratic system.
Sure the gaming industry has collected thousands of signatures for their petitions for the R18+ rating, but do the signatories understand the full impact of what they were signing? We wonder if they read our report, would they still be willing to sign such petitions?
Download report here
UPDATE...... The gaming and computer industry has now introduced technologies where the gamer does not need a joystick/keypad as now there is a sensor to detect movements by the gamer who have to get out of the chair and actually act out the movements to make the game even more interactive - even more realistic. We wonder how that would work if there really was R18+ games where content is similar to horror movies and pornography?