Do You Know What Songs Your Kids Just Downloaded?

Digital Music sales is up 15 percent from last year, and America is on pace to break 2011’s record of purchasing 1.3 billion digital tracks.

Let’s face it—American’s love their music.

The question is, do you know what your kids are downloading?

Let me be clear. I’m not recommending that you become a helicopter parent, hide in the bushes and watch your kids walk to the bus stop in the morning. But the polar opposite—letting them do whatever they like—isn’t the solution either.

So how can parents keep an eye on their kids media choices without being that ‘creepy’ parent?

Glad you asked.

The answer? Regular conversations. Not lectures, not random iPod checks… conversations. This works especially well if you start this when they’re young.

Let me introduce you to a wonderful tool that Apple has called Home Sharing. When my girls were first interested in an iTunes account, I set up their computer with my own iTunes account and activated Home Sharing through the iTunes “Advanced” menu. This means whenever they download a song, I get it too. Whenever I download a song, they get it too.

This has been a lot of fun. Now that they’re teenagers, we’ll often ask each other, “Have you heard that new song from The Script?” or “Hey, you downloaded a new Gungor song. That was awesome!”

Home Sharing has opened doors to a geyser of conversation about music in my home.

When I share this with parents at my parent workshops, they’ll often tell me, “This would have been good to know 5 years ago! What do I do now that my kids listen to pure garbage? How do I monitor that?”

Again, regular conversations, and a few guardrails.

Chapter 6 of my parenting book is titled, “Dad, Can I Download This Song?” This entire chapter helps parents set simple guidelines for downloading music—guidelines such as, “you must download the lyrics and talk about them with mom or dad before downloading.” This guardrail creates… actually, requires… conversations.

Parenting isn’t easy. But it gets much harder when the channels of communication are broken in the home.

Open up the channels of communication in your home. You can start today. If your kids like music, try any of these openers, depending on their musical taste and style:

  • Taylor Swift has had several songs at the top of the charts lately. What do you think of her music? What is your favorite song? Why?
  • The Killers just released a new album, have you heard it? What do you think of it? What’s your favorite song? Why?
  • I just saw a rap video (look at the Juicy J music video in the Top 10 of iTunes today), and those guys didn’t think very highly of women. Is this true of most rap and hip hop today? Do you think young people are adopting this philosophy of women? Do you think young girls feel the need to be like the women in these videos?
  • Toby Mac just had his album go #1 a few weeks ago, the first Christian album to go #1 since the 90’s. Have you heard it? What’s your favorite song? What other Christian artists do you enjoy?


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