Most youth do not want their parents to control how they spend their free time. Most youth do not select music for downloading in order to make pirated CD’s. Those statements would seem to present a valid argument against parental control over selected music for downloading.
Parents, however, must answer to the pressures of society and to governmental regulations. Both society and government often look at parents as the “watchdog” of their children. They want parents to introduce in-home rules about music for downloading.
In response, parents have asked for help from the music industry. They have asked for a system that will help them to detect unacceptable music. As a result, one now finds that CD’s have a rating system, much like the rating system on movies.
Some parents desire more than just the existence of a rating system. Parents with access to a network specialist can program a firewall to filter out music that the parents themselves find offensive. The networking specialist can design a firewall so that it fits the needs of a particular family.
Parents might, for example, program the firewall to filter out music with distasteful language. The program would not accept music for downloading whenever that music contained an expletive or a vulgarity. Would that represent an infringement on the freedom of youth living in the house with such firewall software?
The firewall would deprive the youth of the freedom to download certain music. Yet absence of that firewall might leave the youth feeling free to use any language at any time. Society has learned that all too often a youth who uses violent language also exhibits an inclination to perform violent acts.
The observation of such behaviors underlines the need for parental controls. In fact, society must now study carefully when and how to free youth from such controls. It now appears important to keep parents posted about the behavior of a son or daughter even after he or she has left home, and is living on a college campus.
Recent events have underscored the rationale behind parental controls on music for downloading. They have added support to those groups who favor such controls. Recent events have slowed any rush to do away with parental stipulations concerning the downloading of music. Yet U.S. youth remain free to listen to most music.
U.S. youth can feel comfortable walking around while they’re listening to an ipod. U.S. women, unlike the women of Iran, do not have to hide their ipods underneath their required headgear. They do not have to pray that no one will seek to take away their ipods. U.S. youth remain free to have music sounding in their ears.