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January 21, 2007

iPods, Rap, Teens and Sex

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Lead news paragraph for the day:

Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.

More here.



posted by Michael at January 21, 2007


causality or corelation?

Posted by: PA on January 21, 2007 7:08 AM

Interesting article. I hope that the full report will be available online since the MSNBC report appears to be deliberately slanted to generate the maximum amount of alarm. For example:

The story states, “Teens whose iPods are full of music with raunchy, sexual lyrics start having sex sooner than those who prefer other songs, a study found.”

The first respondents were questioned in 2001, with follow-up interviews done in 2002 and 2004. However, iPod sales didn’t really take off until the end of 2004 (from 860,000 to 2,000,000 units sold in the last quarter of the year). The teens surveyed could not possibly have been listening to iPods in great numbers. Since there were about 42 million people between the ages of 10 and 19 in 2004, even if they owned all the iPods ever produced at the time, only 13% of teens could have been iPod users. See here for a graph of iPod sales

The story states that “Among heavy listeners, 51 percent started having sex within two years, versus 29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music.”

Within two years of what? The participants were between the ages of 12 and 17, a relatively huge range in time in the life of adolescents. But I strongly doubt that the respondents were mechanically having sex within 2 years of music listening, without regard to their age or other factors.

Also, the “29 percent of those who said they listened to little or no sexually degrading music” indicates that there is a lot of self-reporting going on here, which is always suspect. Also, of course, it could be that teens who really want to have sex choose music that is strongly sexual.

On the other hand, Benjamin Chavis, of the Hip-Hip Summit Action Network, sounds like an idiot with his tiresome claim that explicit music lyrics are a “cultural expression.”

By the way there were 21 million iPods sold by the first quarter of 2007. Shouldn’t teens be having sex in the streets given all the songs they could be listening to?

Posted by: Alec on January 21, 2007 7:19 AM

Scientists. What would we do without 'em?

Posted by: Mencius on January 21, 2007 1:41 PM

From the article:

"The study, based on telephone interviews..."

So, that would be self-reported iPod contents, and self-reported sexual activity.

That's not science, that's a short-story workshop.

Posted by: Hal O'Brien on January 22, 2007 3:38 AM

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