At the dinner table this week, when we had two extra kids joining us, I asked them if they liked Lady Gaga. The quick response from my kids was that look of dread – how is she going to embarrass us this time? But the question sparked a resounding “No!”
And the conversation took off. The kids became animated, and I sat back, playing anthropologist, and watched the conversation unfold.
All four kids had seen her videos, knew her songs and could give multiple examples of her outrageous behaviour. Their conversation quickly moved from Lady Gaga to other popular YouTube searches – Sophia Grace (almost 25 million hits in less than 3 months), other famous child singers – like Connie Talbot andJackie Evancho – and then, inevitably, to talking dogs (with over 72 million hits). There was energy in our dining room and as soon as the plates were cleared, out came the laptop. As we tidied the kitchen, Kevin told me to, “Stop and watch this scene – five years ago, kids didn’t gather around a screen to watch YouTube videos, knowing that millions of others have watched them.”
The obvious observation is that kids spend more and more time on-line, and the implications of this increased time and access are worth exploring as parents and educators. But I think there’s a more disturbing impact.
Have you seen a Lady Gaga video? I actually like her music and think she is incredibly talented. So, last week I watched a few of them (start with Bad Romance, viewed by 431,924,757 people as of today) and then watched herGoogle interview. In case you don’t spend your evenings this way, here are two facts you need to know about Lady Gaga:
- She is the most downloaded artist in history.
- She is among the most searched people in the world.
The side of me that is interested in SEO and marketing is fascinated by Lady Gaga – she is barely 25 years old and yet she has managed to climb that Google search engine. Her popularity is something worthy of our attention as educators.
But the more important consideration is this – her videos, viewed by billions of people, are very disturbing. This mature content and her outrageous behavior are more accessible than ever in history.
So why do we need to talk about Lady Gaga? As parents and educators, our greatest job is to raise mature, thoughtful adults. I don’t believe we should hide what is popular, but I am passionate about our responsibility to ensure children are informed, reflective and critical. I see it all the time in our CAIS schools, where we value values.