Is karaoke an unbridled blessing for children or does it provide grounds for parental concern?
Karaoke is a Japanese word that means “empty orchestra.” It refers to the use of special equipment and software which allows people young and old to record their voice and see it accompanied by a music video image on TV. The lyrics scroll along the bottom of the screen, allowing fans to sing along with their favorite songs. Some bars offer live singing; others have machines that allow patrons to choose from thousands of titles, many in foreign languages such as Cantonese, Mandarin and Spanish. This increasingly popular form of entertainment has been available in Japan since 1971 but has only recently begun appearing in North America. Many parents are wondering what all the buzz is about.
Is karaoke good for kids? Here are the opinions of some experts in Canada and the U.S.
Dr. Gyles Brandreth, writer, broadcaster, former Member of Parliament (UK), author, The Joy of Lex, “I think it’s fine to sing with your children at home…It shouldn’t be discouraged because it is fun.”
Dr. Marshall Chasin , clinical psychologist, coach and parenting expert (US) “What better way to connect with your child than through music? And what better way than singing together? Music enhances brain development in many ways including learning language skills but also math, spatial relations and other information that will serve them well into adulthood…
Providing young adults with positive, loving experiences with their parents is essential in helping them feel that they are safe, secure and loved. Singing together creates a wonderful opportunity to bond and become closer.”
Dr. Donna Eder , education professor (US), Director of the Voices of Youth Choirs “I think karaoke is fine if children learn how to use it selectively and don’t get hooked on it…It’s important for children and teens to be able to recognize what advertising is and know when it’s being used against them. The same thing goes for technology such as karaoke machines….
Parents should not be naive about negative messages in music lyrics or video games either. It’s hard enough living in an over-hyped world without trying to shut out all negative influences.”
Dr. Melanie Moore , Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Waterloo (Ontario) “I believe that karaoke is a good way to bond with your child and an opportunity for children themselves to express themselves…Sing-alongs to favourite songs are a great activity for families to do together….But, certainly, parents need to monitor their kids’ use of any media or technology, just as they would when encouraging them to play hockey or take piano lessons…Parents also need to encourage their children’s interests — whether it’s sports, music lessons, karate — so that they feel supported in developing talents and skills”
In this debate here are some points from each side:
Karaoke is good for kids to sing along with their parents and bond because there’s nothing wrong with singing. The fact that it enhances brain development and helps people learn language skills and other information makes it a very useful tool in any household, not just in karaoke bars. It also creates an environment where children can comfortably express themselves when they’re young – something that’s incredibly important when you consider that many people continue to do this into adulthood, such as in the case of karaoke contests. Karaoke is bad for kids because they will become addicted to the machines and mindlessly sing songs without realizing what they’re saying or hearing. They might even start smoking to sound like the singers on TV (we’ve heard of this happening before), and it’s generally not a good idea to let your kids indulge in things like this because it might affect them psychologically. Also, children should be learning through other activities such as sports, piano lessons, or attending school to acquire skills and knowledge.
Karaoke is good for kids because parents can enjoy spending time with their children and singing along with them at home without worrying about the negative effects of technology. It gives the family something fun to do together on weekends instead of engaging in more dangerous pastimes, so there doesn’t have to be any worries about addiction or psychological issues unless they already have these problems beforehand or are being influenced by outside factors that parents cannot control – which applies to anything from watching too much, smoking cigarettes, gambling or online pornography. Karaoke is bad for kids because it’s just another form of technology that distracts them from the important things in their lives, such as school and social events. There are always healthier ways of bonding with your child than using karaoke machines or watching TV, so parents should steer clear of these activities if they want to raise well-rounded individuals who grow up to be productive citizens in society.
Children growing up today are constantly surrounded by media technology so it becomes increasingly more difficult for them to separate themselves from this world – especially children who live without proper parental guidance. So many children (especially teenagers) become obsessed with certain technologies like computers, the internet and video games, often playing games for hours on end without knowing how to properly shut it off or even caring about what they’re doing. Karaoke is just another one of those technologies and parents need to protect their children from this if they want them to grow up as responsible, self-aware adults who don’t let technology distort their perceptions of the world around them. Parents should be more worried if their kids were singing in the mirror than using a karaoke machine because at least on TV you can censor things that are inappropriate for younger audiences – but if your kid is singing these songs without realizing what he’s saying then there’s no telling how much damage has already been done by letting him watch TV in the first place.
Yes, because everyone knows traditional exposure therapy works best. Seriously though… I’m kidding. Yes, karaoke is good for kids because it’s a safe and healthy way of working through various insecurities that come out in song in a way that helps both parent and child bond by singing songs together in a fun environment. You can either do this at home or take them to the bar/arcade to help them socialize with other children their age. It also gets them more involved in music culture from a young age which is always good when you consider how much time they spend listening to music these days on their iPods or Zune players – even if they’re only downloading crappy pop songs from Myspace it still helps get them exposed to lyrics and melodies at an early age will help them develop better musical tastes as they grow older. Karaoke is bad for kids because it encourages unhealthy habits such as alcohol abuse and smoking, early sexual encounters, and socializing with the wrong types of people – who should be kept at a healthy distance from children so that their minds remain clean and not corrupted by a negative influence. Parents should watch over what type of songs their kids are picking to sing because there need to be some moral standards to ensure that these children don’t end up developing psychological issues or learning lyrics that will only encourage them to do things like smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or even take drugs (if they’re old enough).