TEEN HEALTH Published March2, 2016 By Annie Dee

Check Your Teens' Spotify List: Rap Music Associated with Sexually Risky Behaviors

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Sexually active young women are now encouraged to undergo STI screening.
(Photo : WikiImages-pixabay)

Risky sexual behaviors among teens are associated with rap music with explicit lyrics, a new study found. Parents are called to pay attention to what their children are streaming in their music devices or blasting in their room. 

A new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health revealed that teens listening to rap music with sexually explicit lyrics for at least three hours daily are more likely to engage in promiscuous sexual behavior. These behaviors are associated with a host of problems of young teens, such as unplanned pregnancy, STD, HIV/AIDS and many more. 

According to the lead researcher, a faculty associate in the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health, teens who listen to rap music with sexual overtones can start to think that everyone is doing it. The more that they listen to such music, the more that they will feel like to conform to the idea, fueled by the belief that that this is what majority of their peers are doing. The data were derived from 443 predominantly black and Hispanic students from 13 to 16 years old. 

The lead researcher however claimed that their friends' behavior and reaction to the explicit content can act as a mediating variable. If teens see that their friends are critical of the explicit content, they are unlikely to believe that the lyrics apply to majority of their teens. However, if it seems that their friends are also engaging in sexually risky behaviors, then the rap music can encourage them to engage in risky behaviors as well. 

"Perceived peer sex is the most powerful predictor of future sex and addressing perceived peer behavior with youth is really important. Rap music and forms of progressive hip-hop education can be used as tools to deconstruct sexually explicit messages adolescents receive," she said.

Experts therefore call for parents to regulate the media exposure their children have. During the teen years, the brain's impulse-control center is not fully developed yet, but their interest in sex is already arising. They can be gullible to lyrics and perceived behaviors of their peers. 

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