Don't Rely on the iTunes Advisory Ratings for Children

The iTunes advisory rating system (explicit, clean, no-rating) is their way of informing listeners and parent's of listeners about the suggestive content in each song. Unfortunately, this gauge can't be completely relied upon; many non rated songs have some explicit terms and insinuations.

My five year old daughter walked into my room this morning to and woke me with the phrase, "Mom, I'm a little drunk and I need you now." Just what every mom wants to hear as she starts her day. One might initially wonder if someone in my family often utters that phrase around the house. Well, the answer is no. So, before making her a bloody Mary, (you know, a "hair of the dog" hang over remedy) I delved a bit further. "What do you mean by drunk?" She took a second and replied, "You know like Lady Antebellum says in her song. After she has drank a lot of water and her belly is drunk." Phew, therapy averted.

This reminded me of the time she asked, "Why does Fergie have so much junk and why does everyone want to touch it?" I explained that the junk in her trunk was regular trash that people wanted to help her clean up. Of course, my daughter went on to complain about the lack of people offering to help clean her room, but my diversion worked.

In light of my daughter's recent confession, I decided to have a listen to her iPod and see what other terms and concepts she was being exposed to. Holy %^#@, there were quite a bit of expletives, not to mention the "N" word, as well as some seriously suggestive innuendo. How could that be? When I downloaded these songs for her, I was careful to choose the "Clean" option, if there was one or an option that had no rating at all. (When there's no rating, it's implied that the song was never dirty enough to "clean up" in the first place.) I expected some suggestive language, not unlike what you would find on FM radio, but the cursing was a bit of a surprise. After erasing about 10 songs from her play list, I realized I couldn't rely on iTunes to determine what's appropriate for my children. Though their advisory system is a good start, nothing can replace hearing the tunes for yourself.
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