What Do Your Kids Really Think?

Many of you have already read my blog about Soulja Boy and the truth behind his “Superman” song and dance penetrating schools across the country. A few days later the subject came up again in this blog, and I ended with a quote from a 14-year-old in a chat room:

I love this song, and
i dont really care what
the lyrics mean.
😛

That day, a youth worker named Jason read my blog and decided to do an experiment with this new knowledge. He took a survey with his kids. Here’s what he discovered:

in Ref. to this blog I thought I would sit down with my youth group and pick their brain about music and how we as parents and leaders should deal with the music. Below is the results.

About Music

1. Question should we as parents turn a deaf ear to your music and hope you don’t know what it means?? 58% agree we should turn a deaf ear

2. Should we explain to you what a song means and then if it’s bad (not pleasing to God)..ask you not to listen to it. 52% said we should explain

3. As a Sunday School teacher should I mention if a song is bad? 33% said yes I should

4. 33% said they would keep listening to the song when they realize it’s not pleasing to God

I think Jason had a great idea. I’d love to find out what your kids think!

So try this: take 5 minutes next time you meet with your kids to survey them anonymously (hand out blank scraps of paper and have them number 1-6). Ask them these six questions adapted from Jason’s poll:

  1. Do you think that parents and youth workers should stay out of your music, turn a deaf ear, and hope that lyrics don’t affect you?
  2. Do you think that the lyrics affect you?
  3. If parents or youth workers discover that a song is vile or degrading, should they explain it to you and warn you about it?
  4. How many of you would still listen to it even if you knew the lyrics were bad?
  5. Should parents draw a line and enforce rules of what you can and can’t listen to?
  6. What should that line be? (what criteria should they use?)

(Note: Some of you might think, “This would be a good opportunity to discuss the issues of the stuff we allow in our heads, or compromising.” We’ve got several good resources that you can use as “ready-made” discussions on the topic. Our MOVIE CLIP DISCUSSIONS page has a great one using a clip from the third Lord of the Rings film, and one from 24… but also check out some Object Lessons like the one on Purity, the “Special Brownies” one… etc. Good discussion material.)

Now, about the survey… I only took one statistics class in college, so I’m no expert. But I do know one thing about this quiz: there is crossover in these questions and I think that’s good. It helps us evaluate kid’s true feelings about a subject. Sometimes you have to ask a similar question two different ways to get at the truth. In other words, questions 1 and 3 are really similar. It would be funny if kids answer YES to #1 and YES to #3 (3 is asked in the inverse). We see that trend in Jason’s kid’s answers. 58% said “stay out of our music!” But then 52% turn around and say, “sure, explain a song to us if a song is bad!”  (do they want us to stay out or what?)

Post your results as a comment on THIS BLOG. (and if you aren’t already, don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE to this blog so you can stay updated.) I realize it might take a week or two to get results. No worries. But try to take a quick 5 minutes to survey your kids next time you see them in a youth group, bible study, or small group format.

I’ll try to post as many of your stats and comments as possible. More importantly, I’ll post a grand total of all the responses. So stick to the six questions I gave you for our survey.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; Sex Matters; The Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket; and youth ministry books like Ministry By Teenagers; Connect; and the 10-Minute Talks series. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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18 Responses to What Do Your Kids Really Think?

  1. Todd Pounds says:

    Lyrics Survey Results:
    1. 68% yes
    2. 39% yes
    3. 93% yes
    4. 78% yes
    5. 36% yes

    I am Minister to Students at Woodville’s First Baptist Church in Woodville, Tx located in southeast Texas.

  2. Kevin D. Smith says:

    Lyrics Survey Results:

    1. 38% yes
    2. 71% yes
    3. 63% yes
    4. 67% yes
    5. 50% yes
    6. Most answers related to language and sexual content. A few mentioned violence, murder, suicide, etc..

    1031 Student Ministries
    Immanuel Baptist Church
    Greenwood, MS

  3. Todd says:

    Here are the results from our group:

    Lyrics Survey Results:

    1. 56% yes
    2. 63% yes
    3. 100% yes
    4. 67% yes
    5. 50% yes
    6. Lyrics that are Profane, promiscuous, suicidal, vile & degrading. One student said “that’s our choice”

  4. Todd Pounds says:

    Left off responses to #6 bad language, violence, sexual, and a comment; “they should trust me”

  5. Joseph says:

    Lyrics Survey Results:

    1. 66% Yes
    2. 100% No
    3. 100% Yes
    4. 100% Yes
    5. 66% No
    6. Lyrics that are profain / sexual content

  6. Phil says:

    My youth will be taking the survey soon.

    Here is an interesting article though. Read the comments after the article to see how ridiculous some people think this whole issue is. It’s sad.

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/02/05/under-the-influence-ofmusic/

  7. Thanks for that web link Phil- those comments are pretty sad. You’ll also want to jump on my blog from last Thursday and read more about that. I wrote all about the study discussed in that article, as well as some other articles tying music to early sexual activity. It’s the blog titled: You Mean… the Lyrics DO Affect Me?

  8. 1. Yes 32%
    2. Yes 64%
    3. Yes 86%
    4. Yes 58%
    5. Yes 57%
    6. Lyrics that were sexual, profane or violent

  9. Rita says:

    I got to guest teach at our youth group last night (my husband is the youth leader) and he was more surprised than I was at their response to these questions.

    1. %33 each for Yes, No and Sometimes
    2. %100 No
    3. %50 Yes
    4. %100 Yes
    5. %75 Yes
    6. “Look at lyrics,” “number of cuss words,” “there is no line/should not be one.” Only 1 wrote down, “if they think it has a bad meaning.”

    My husband is certainly going to visit this topic again.

  10. Mike says:

    1. 63% yes
    2. 75% yes
    3. 63% yes
    4. 50% yes
    5. 38% yes
    6. Lyrics that are profane, promote sexual activity, degrade people. Does it tear you down or build you up?

  11. Amanda says:

    1. 33% yes
    2. 78% yes
    3. 78% yes
    4. 44% yes
    5. 67% yes
    6. Most responses focused on how “bad” the lyrics are (without elaborating on what “bad” actually means). Some kids said violent lyrics or excessive swearing should be a line. Surprisingly enough, at least for me, no one mentioned sexual content as a determining factor.

    I was a little surprised at the responses–I did not give this survey to my entire group (made up of quite a few non-churched, non-Christian kids), but instead gave it to my small group Bible study, which is supposed to be for deeper, more dedicated study. Interesting.

  12. Kristi says:

    1. 79% yes
    2. 58% yes
    3. 38% yes
    4. 83% yes
    5. 13% yes
    6. violence, raping. blood,sexual messages

    The survey group was made up of 24 11th and 12th graders. Only three people answered yes to #5 and only two responded to #6. The group is fairly active in church, including Wed night Bible studies, mission trips, etc., in other words what we would call “good kids”.

  13. Jpack says:

    1. 30% IDK, 60% No, 10% Yes
    2. 100% yes
    3. 90% yes 10% No
    4. 50% yes 50% No
    5. 30% no, 50% yes, 20% yes – but I won’t like it.

    Student – Outreach Minister
    Church of Christ in Ohio
    Gave this to my teens on a Sunday night in our small group setting. I was kinda surprised.

  14. Paul Loeffler says:

    1) 33% Yes, 67% No
    2) 47% Yes, 53% No
    3) 67% Yes, 33% No
    4) 67% Yes, 33% No
    5) 67% Yes, 33% No
    6) Comments included: “…what the parents believe is right.” “If it has very bad words or bad content.” “Based on whether or not it would be appropriate to God – no swearing, sexual, cussing, etc.” “If it refers to drugs or s-stuff [?] – NO! But even those have good ones.” “Rap and Hard Rock.” “… the f-bomb a lot.” “The line should be only temporary. When some one knows what something is, or what it’s about, it should be their choice.” “If it’s some sort of satan worship band. Otherwise, I think kids could figure it out on their own.”

  15. Paul Loeffler says:

    I forgot to mention the numbers for my group. We’re from Lolo, MT. There were 15 students, all high school, and all but one (a visitor) seriously involved in church functions beyond youth group. We belong to a fairly conservative, non-denominational church.

  16. Dairn Peters says:

    1. 50% YES, 50% NO
    2. 66% YES, 33% NO
    3. 83% YES, 17% NO
    4. 66% YES, 33% NO
    5. 0% YES, 100% NO
    6. Some Comments:
    Sexually degrading lyrics; what is your motive for listening (ie. what mood do you want to put yourself in?); swearing; abuse against women; people should only listen to what they can handle without acting stupid.

  17. Mike J says:

    1 yes – 12 no – 4 not necessarily, sometimes, etc 3
    2 19-2-1 – yes-no-sometimes
    3 19-2 y-n
    4 9-6-6 y-n-maybe
    5 4-19 y-n
    6 if they cause harm to ppl
    I can decide what’s good
    No vulgar language or suggestions
    I should know better myself
    No lines
    No profanity
    No sexual stuff
    No profanity, no superman, no hoes … haha

  18. Nick Church says:

    1. 53% No 47% Yes
    2. 36% No 64% Yes
    3. 6% No 88% Yes 6% Maybe
    4. 29% No 35% Yes 36% Maybe
    5. 29 % No 53% Yes 18% Maybe
    6. Bad Language
    Does not uplift Christ
    Degrading to Women and the Bible
    If it is changing behavior