I popped down to my local eatery (as we shameless bachelors regularly do) and sat down at a table while my ‘usual’ was being prepared. A few tables away from me was a toddler sitting on his mother’s lap and craning his head towards his dad at the counter, eagerly awaiting the arrival of all the goodies presumably – how cute, eh?. I reminisced about a time when I had no responsibilities and all I had to do as a kid was eat, sleep and sh*t. But I was snapped back to reality when the in-door music system suddenly kicked in booming ‘FUCK WHAT I SAID…IT DON’T MEAN SHIT NOW! FUCK ALL THE PRESENTS, MIGHT AS WELL THROW ‘EM OUT! FUCK ALL THOSE KISSES, THEY DIDN’T MEAN JACK…’ (so goes the breakup experience according to Eamon). My attention immediately went to the little boy – his ears were exposed! You couldn’t see it on the outside but inside me I was a raving lunatic yelling, ‘PUT THAT MUSIC OFF! PUT THAT MUSIC OFF! HE SHOULDN’T BE LISTENING TO THIS! WHY ISN’T ANYBODY DOING ANYTHING! HIS INNOCENCE IS BEING DESTROYED!’
To my bewilderment, the boy’s mum was as cool as a cucumber. His dad was equally calm as a cat while I was like James Bond’s signature drink (Vodkatini) – shaken, not stirred…visibly. The sales attendants and all the other customers in the eatery just continued to go about whatever they were doing – talk about turning a deaf ear to profanity. It got me thinking…what is this country coming to if we allow our kids to be subjected to foul language and derogatory statements that are broadcast for all and sundry to hear? What’s also worrisome is the array of erotic and diabolical movie themes portrayed on #AfricaMagic (a Cable TV station on #DSTV) 24 hours a day! Let’s be honest with ourselves – how many parents in Nigeria will judiciously set up the parental control on their Cable decoders? By the time they realize what’s going on, their kids will be of the belief that one of the many solutions to problems in life is to turn to ‘Juju’ (Naija speak for ‘voodoo’) from some Babalawo (Naija speak for ‘ritualist’) which ALWAYS has its repercussions.
When you get right down to it you wonder what the National Broadcasting Commission in Nigeria is doing to safeguard the quality of TV and radio broadcasting. According to their ‘About’ page one of their responsibilities is “…setting standards with regards to the contents and quality of materials broadcast“. Sadly I do not have the confidence to leave my kids at home with the maid who is more than likely to tune in to Africa Magic where the average Nigerian movie would contain grammatical errors at least 20% of the time. I don’t want my kids to disregard tenses, syllables and pronunciations in the course of English dialogue. I want my kids to exude a good first impression when they speak outside, be it at a job interview or during an award acceptance speech. Is this too much to ask?
Now, I’m well aware that I’ve somehow digressed from wearing headphones in public places thereby safeguarding against explicit lyrics, to wearing headphones indoors to protect my unborn kids from picking up improper English and cultural beliefs. In reality this would make my kids stand out in a negative way. They’ll probably get picked on in school a lot and risk getting knocked over on the street if they couldn’t hear a reckless driver screeching behind them. I’d probably be at work when they pick up bad words from other schoolkids whose parents have a lackadaisical attitude towards audio and audio-visual content for their kids. Don’t get me started on hip-hop music videos these days showcasing mostly three things: Skimpy-clad girls, Cash and Booze. By now you’ve probably seen the effects of these types of videos on kids (How I wish I could blindfold my kids too…that’ll be a bit much though). I present to you Exhibit A:
– “So what do I do? I won’t be able to be with my unborn kids 24/7 to protect them from seeing all this bare ass and hearing all these sexually suggestive lyrics…what if they ask me what it means to say ‘My Anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got buns, hun’? dilemma…Lord, please help me!”
Well, the chicken way out will be to decide not to have kids at all – problem solved. You can’t have a kid corrupted if you don’t have a kid to begin with, right? I would love to have kids of my own so I’m going to go for door no.2 – take a stand and set an example for adults to go by. As I reflect on the ‘Eamongate’ incident I realize that the right thing to do would have been to inform the manager about the content of the music playing and to be weary of the presence of kids whom are of an impressionable age. It may not necessarily result in anything positive but it’s worth a try, wouldn’t you say? The next time you’re out in public, whether you have kids or hoping to have some in future, tune your eyes and ears to the content watched by little children and ask yourself if it’s okay to sit in the sidelines. Food for thought 🙂
Here’s another blogger who shares her thoughts: Nicky Minaj’s Anaconda confuses
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My six year old cousin was singing along to Drake’s Worst Behaviour a few days back, children pick stuff up quite fast and from places that you could not imagine.
So is there really a way to completely put a halt to it?
That is the big question. We’re virtually helpless and it seems the more the public patronize certain kinds of music (and I’m not saying I don’t enjoy some of ’em) then that’s what our kids will be bombarded with. Imagine if the whole world didn’t buy music or attend concerts or download mp3 content with explicit lyrics – there would be a dramatic shift in the music industry. We have the power (strength in numbers ‘n all) we just don’t learn to use it.
We now leave in a society where our morals are been sanctioned by d media and d clamouring for human right that we are turning a deaf ear to d ills in some of this music & video if we could boycott some of these music, video am sure change will come.
True! I appreciate the comment
What is it that you think causes a word to be labeled profanity and another word not? It is inherent in the word itself, or is it the context within which the word is used?
I’m not bothered by language one way or the other. I am not religious, so language that is ‘unholy’ and therefore profane, is no different to me than other words. I do have kids myself and I teach them that there are no ‘bad’ words, just ‘bad ways’ to use certain words.
Hmmm…that’s an interesting and unique perspective. I’d be stuck with words like ‘fuck’ if I had to apply your principle of no bad words but bad ways to use certain words. It’s a tricky one but I suspect most would sit on the fence on this subject. Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂
I don’t know about that. Fence sitting sounds pretty uncomfortable to me.
Lol – I agree. Sooner or later you’re gonna fall over one side or the other!
There seem to be not much that can be done currently to curtail this inherent “abuse”. I would say I don’t think anyone sets the parental control or censors what children see or hear. We just don’t care! Even if some do, we can’t always filter who and what children come across.
The cable companies will tell you they mute the foul languages and blur the provocative images; to what effect?
I love this piece and I can’t seem to exhaust my frustration.
Interesting…Tonwa..love your posts
Thanks bro. Much appreciated
Without controversy, human minds are influenced by what they hear and what they see. The power of sight is however more influential than the power of hearing.No man is self made. we are all products of influence. We are not who we are, we are who we have become through influence.
The Media plays a significant role in moulding the minds of the society …for good or for bad. The need to maintain restraint and utmost fidelity in contents that is non discriminatory is highly compelling, behaviours and characters are shaped by pictures in media and conducts of people around us. If there is no intervention through parental guide and control, a child who persistently exposes himself to unwholesome contents becomes what he sees repeatedly. Cases of rape, drug addiction, gangsterism, and more recently terrorist conducts are major outcome of such exposures.
Let us all join hands in condemning such wherever we see it and become the change we seek in the world.
‘a child who persistently exposes himself to unwholesome contents becomes what he sees repeatedly.’ – True
Thanks for sharing your insight on this issue. Here’s a toast to positive change. Cheers!