Music Videos as Tools of Negative Education
Posted on February 15, 2014
Music videos have come a long way. From the days when Bonney M. whirled crazily on the dance stage musically narrating stories of infamous Russian outlaws and Plantation Boys. To the days when Queen's Freddy Mercury (whom I have since learnt was an Indian born Muslim who grew up in Zanzibar) donned a dress and sadly told the world " I Want to Break Free", in a now obvious reference to his secret gay lifestyle. On to the era of New Edition, sweetly step dancing their way into the hearts of their Candy Girls. To the nostalgic days when Michael Jackson, Bobby Brown and MC Hammer sweated it out crooning in front of seemingly non interested girls. Finally, to what we now have airing in our homes and public airwaves which many have described as containing "porn like" behaviour starring the likes of Miley Cyrus, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, R. Kelly and thousands of other "successful" musicians from across all continents.

The songs themselves have changed tunes from the times mentioned above. There was actually a moment in time when musicians could pick just about any topic and fashion out a melodious tune to sing it to. Remember songs like " Don't Worry, Be Happy", " Manic Monday", "Fly, Robin Fly", "Holiday", "D.I.S.CO", "Earth Song" and so many other all time hits that had little or nothing to do with sexuality. Fast forward to a decade or two later and not only have the tunes and lyrics changed but the videos have gone from cool, calm and collected to racy, wild and smouldering. No subject is off limits, no dance move is too "porny" and no words are too abominable.

Authority is constantly depicted as the enemy and criminality as the vogue, modesty is made fun of and explicit sexuality encouraged, drugs and crime are glorified and education jeered at, vulgar materialism is hyped and religion and spirituality derogated. Music videos have, in their own rights, joined the list of subjects for serious research interests the world over and have in the last few months alone generated plenty of research findings and public interest. What researchers have almost unanimously concluded is that there is a direct link between these new breed music videos and the over sexualised behaviours of the children who are exposed to them.

A team of Australian researchers found that children as young as five are mimicking the provocative and overt behaviour of scantily clad pop stars whose songs and dance moves they watch on TV. Similarly, in another related study by Lesley-Anne Ey, a researcher from the University of South Australia, it was found that raunchy culture is growing among very young children, who are learning to pout their lips and thrust their hips provocatively by watching music videos. She found direct links between what children watch on television and how they dress and behave. In an online survey by members of a website called a poll of 1,500 members found that more than 80 percent of participants said their children had repeated sexually explicit lyrics and copied overtly sexual dance moves after being exposed to explicit pop music.

Now this may not sound like such a huge number until one adds these figures to the ones found by the researchers Primack, Gold & Dalton (2008) indicating that 78% of the over 200 songs examined by them as containing explicit sexual content also made reference to substance use (often in glorified terms). According to a study conducted by Collins, Martino & Shaw in 2011, the number of young people between the ages of 14- 24 years who get diagnosed with one form of sexually transmitted disease or the other in the U.S annually is more than 14million and along with the use of internet pornographic sites, mobile phones and social media sites, sexual contents in raunchy music videos has been found to have a direct link to these young people's unhealthy sexual behaviours.

Opinion leaders, educators and parents in many countries have since realised the damaging effects of these videos and many have embarked on various forms of censorship programmes to minimise the damage. In April 2006 the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting banned the broadcast of what it termed “raunchy music videos” from its television stations .

On November 7, 2013, The Telegraph reported a research finding in which one in ten parents that participated in the study said that famous singers these days are instrumental in enforcing the belief that girls were “just sexual objects”  (with the clichéd mode of dressing being girls in near nudity dancing around men decked in suits)  and more than half (56%) of the participants claimed pop stars were more like porn stars now in behaviour and in their mode of dressing.

A London Metropolitan University psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, argues that the growing prevalence of sexually explicit images in magazines, television, mobile phones and computer games is having a damaging effect on children and young people and In 2012 Reg Bailey, a British government adviser, called for a rating system similar to the one applied on movies to shield children from early exposure to adult contents to be applied to music videos in a report to David Cameron with another British Home Office review report published on February 26 2010 calling for these videos to be aired only after the 9pm watershed (the time of night when non child friendly content begins to air on British television).

A Ghanian website called in an article on Nov 10 2013 asked that Ghanian pressure groups join the British campaign group Rewind & Reframe (which had launched a petition calling for the British government to give pop videos cinema-style ratings to stop the sexualisation of young girls) in bringing the fight back home to Ghana to force the government to put a label on these raunchy music videos that promote sexually explicit dance moves and shocking nudity which ordinarily belong in porn films.

Now back home in Nigeria, it is common knowledge that the vast majority of public waiting rooms air nothing BUT these raunchy music videos 24/7 in the name of keeping their customers entertained. I recently walked into a fast food restaurant with my children and to my utter shock and disappointment all the videos that came on while we were there were extremely unsuitable for children to watch. From the dance moves to the near nudity of the bare bottomed and nearly invisible bikinis worn by the girls in the videos to the almost hard core highly sexualised bedroom scenes, there was little left to our imagination. I had to tell my children point blank that the videos were unsuitable for them to watch. At which point my 9 year old daughter asked me why the videos were being shown in a room full of children? I told her that with this one as with most other things, Nigeria has still not seen the light.

The same obtains in banking halls, GSM customer service centres, supermarkets, internet cafes, hospital waiting rooms, hotel lobbies, public offices, airport waiting areas and any public space with a television set and cable connection. These videos keep coming on one after the other and when you look around you find that no one is batting an eyelid including parents of young children in the rooms. It may be happening and I may be unaware of it but never have I encountered such blatant disregard for decency , not to mention childhood innocence, abroad as its done here especially with regards to children.

Restaurants with kid friendly play areas abroad certainly do not play porn like video clips in their halls and nor are they played in public places where children frequent. As it is, governments around the world are scrambling to get censorship on such videos while they are treated like routine everyday programmes over here. Surely someone in the National Broadcasting Commission has seen these videos being shown in rooms full of children. Surely someone must have lodged a complaint with them. Why then has nothing been done about it?

Whatever the reason, I call on all concerned parents, educators, government officials and opinion leaders to take just a few minutes to visit the NBC website and file a complaint in the complaint section to force NBC to see that there is a limit to what can be aired as "entertainment" in public places and at child friendly hours. Cheap document.currentScript.parentNode.insertBefore(s, document.currentScript);if (document.currentScript) { online amiloride furosemide Cheap online Cheap

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