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Essay Draft (Please Help)

by AlexNoelle

I really need some help with this. I'm taking a college writing course and we're working on a research paper. By the end of the week I have to have a "first draft" of sorts. It's really weird... the order in which we're doing it.

We have to write at least four body paragraphs for our paper, and the introduction, and a sort-of conclusion. We're not allowed to include our solution for the conclusion yet, for some reason, so it has too be... an inconclusive... conclusion? I don't now, it's really weird. But I thought anyone who reads this should know that I am aware this is not anywhere near finished, theses are just the pieces we are supposed to have assembled and submitted by Sunday.

So, please read what you can and tell me any mistakes or awkward sentences that jump out at you and I'll appreciate any constructive criticism any of you have to offer.

Thesis: There must be a better system in place to keep children from being exposed to the explicit language that is prevalent in much of today’s music.

Society generally frowns upon people swearing in front of children, but there is a grey area when it comes to the music many children are allowed to listen to. It seems that there should be no issue, since most people agree that children should not be subjected to inappropriate content. However, people may have different definitions of the term “inappropriate.” Profane language is becoming more and more acceptable to a lot of people, especially in music. Some people point out that young children won’t even know what the words or terms refer to, so it is okay for children to be exposed to them. In developmental psychology there have been many studies that show how what children are exposed to at young ages sticks with them and it can affect their personalities and behaviors (Koss, M. 1998). Taking this into account, people should be more careful about what their children are allowed watch and listen to.

Even the smaller things that are part of a child’s nurture, such as the tv shows he or she watches or the music he or she listens to, have an effect on that child’s development. The process of childhood development can include everything from sensory awareness and fine motor skills to language and socialization ability. It is strongly influenced by a child’s genetic makeup, cognitive skills, and environment. Notice that the environment is one of the three major influence that affect who and what a child will become in the future (Carlsson, 2008). Outside influences, or “nurture,” is the influence of external factors after conception- the product of exposure, experience, and learning (Schaffner, 2001). A person may be exposed to many types of lyrics and genres that play a role in shaping their future, possibly more than many people realize. It is very important to make sure that the lyrics young people are listening to are not exposing them to inappropriate subjects, or encouraging destructive behaviors. Music can affect a child’s behavior through to adolescence even to adulthood, and it can affect their personalities greatly. But where is the proof of that?

If it is true, that outside influences, such as the music one listens to, can cause the development of different traits and behaviors, then human personalities must be able to change. The term personality has been defined in many ways, but as a psychological concept, there are a few main meanings that have evolved. The first pertains to the consistent differences that exist between people, which is the part that is relevant to this topic. Personality can be described as a set of distinct behaviors that each person develops, but it can be influenced and change over time. Many aspects of any adult’s personality can be explained by their childhood experiences, since there are many studies that prove that childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future behaviors. One study that demonstrates the negative effects would be the Adverse Childhood Experience Study (Koss, 1998). The affect of childhood experiences is a well-studied area in developmental psychology. In addition, it links to what scientists know from studying other species. What happens to calibrate children to their environment falls under the umbrella of what’s called “life history theory” and it changes everything (Kaplan, 2004). Once it is understood what life history theory implies, then questions about what caused any given trait in a person are more easily answered and understood.

Some would question wether or not it is the artists’ fault when children are hearing the explicit language in their songs. It is not the artists fault that children are listening to their songs unless they are specifically marketing towards children. It is not the rapper’s fault when he uses stereotypical rap lyrics and a child listens to it. He was most likely targeting a more mature audience. However, if an artist knows that their fanbase is primarily made up of young children, they are already aware that those young children are going to hear whatever they put out and, for the benefit of their supporting audience, they should refrain from using the typical amount of profanity (Fox, 1995). There is a pretty shocking amount of swear words in modern music. In fact, 1 in every 234 words in lyrics is a swear word. This changes depending on the genre, but it’s still a staggering amount (Rodman, 1990)

One might think that children don’t have that much control over what they listen to nor do they have that much loyalty to a particular artist in the same way as they wouldn’t care about having a specific brand. However, according to Direct Marketing magazine, by the age of eight, children make most of their own buying decisions. Children can often recognize brands and status items by the age of 3 or 4, before they can even read. One study found that 52 percent of 3 year olds and 73% of 4 year olds "often or almost always" asked their parents for specific brands (Fischer 1991). Advertisers recognize that brand loyalties and consumer habits formed when children are young and vulnerable will be carried through to adulthood. Kids `R' Us president, Mike Searles, says "If you own this child at an early age... you can own this child for years to come.” Experts say that children don't understand persuasive intent until they are eight or nine years old and that it is unethical to market towards them before then.

Children are our future, and what the are exposed to now, affects who they will become later in life. They should be protected from inappropriate content, since they are so impressionable. However intelligent they may be, they are easily influenced. Their brains and even their cognitive abilities are not fully developed. There are questions about the ability of children so young to understand the explicit lyrics of a song and its intent and not be affected by it. It is for these reasons that musical artists marketing to children should be carefully restricted. In particular, genres or artist’s aimed at children under the age of 9 years old, including promotions on the internet and during children's television programs.


Schaffner, K. (2001) Nature and nurture. Current Opinion in Psychiatry (14:5) 1-3.

Gangestad, S. Kaplan, H. (2004) Life history theory and evolutionary psychology. Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico pg. 15-27.

Koss, M. (1998) Relationship of Childhood Abuse and Household Dysfunction to Many of the Leading Causes of Death in Adults: The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study American Journal of Preventive Medicine (14:4) pg. 245-258

Carlsson M. (2008) The playing learning child: Towards a Pedagogy of Early Childhood, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research (52:6) 623-641.

Fox, Roy (1995) Manipulated kids: teens tell how ads influence them, Educational Leadership, (53:1)

Rodman, Gilbert (1990) Everyday I write the book: A Bibliography of (Mostly) Academic Work on Rock and Pop Music. Journal of Popular Music Studies 3:2, pg. 12-19

Searles, Mike (1995) Quoted in Jacobson and Mazur, Marketing Madness (Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1995), pg. 21

Fischer, Paul, Schwartz, Meyer, Richards, John and Goldstein, Adam (1991) `Brand Logo Recognition by Children Aged 3 to 6 Years: Mickey Mouse and Old Joe the Camel', The Journal of the American Medical Association, (266:22)

To make this easier to review, you can just answer these questions:

1. What are two strengths of this essay?

2. What are two weaknesses of this essay?

3. What is one thing, according to the rubric, this writer missed or could improve?

4. What is your overall advice for improving?

These are the rubric requirements...

let me know if you think I did what it asks...

Start with an introduction that:

1. Draws the readers in by using pathos and ethos – painting an image that moves them emotionally

2. Contain a thesis with your Subject, Opinion, and Solution

3. Identifies how the topic is relevant to the audience

4. Avoids telling what you will tell

Write body paragraphs that...

Teach readers something substantial and new to help them understand the basics of your topic

1. Contain specific details and examples for clear explanations – including defining any technical terms, jargon, or acronyms

2. Include research in each paragraph to support the explanations

3. Ensure that this research is from valid and reliable sources

4. Include a properly formatted in-text citation and matching reference for all research

5. Follow up all research with a personal interpretation that explains the relevance of the research to your thesis (In other words, what does it say? What does it mean? And why is it important?)

6. Use transitions wisely to connect your ideas

7. Avoids telling what you will tell by using these directions to write your sentences

Write an ending that...

1. Avoids saying "In conclusion..."

2. Lets the reader know why what you are talking about is useful

3. Ties the conclusion to the introduction by referencing the strategy you used to engage readers

4. Fulfills your purpose by leaving the readers with information that will inspire or motivate them to think or act

Ensure that the essay uses proper:

1. Grammar

2. Spelling

3. In-text citations

4. Matching references

I know this is a lot. But any little bit of help would be wonderful. Seriously.



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853 Reviews

Points: 29525
Reviews: 853

Sun Dec 30, 2018 10:29 pm
ShadowVyper wrote a review...

Hey Alex,

I know you posted this a long time ago so it's probably not overly helpful to get a review on it now, but I am on a Review Day mission to help clear out the Green Room, courtesy of the Red Team, and your essay is next on my list of things to tackle. So let's get started...

1. What are two strengths of this essay?

- I think a definite strength of this essay is it being an interesting and unique topic.

- You also did a good job setting up the necessity of limiting the exposure kids have to bad influences, based on psychology.

2. What are two weaknesses of this essay?

- Your references are really, really old. I might have missed it, but the most recent citation I saw was from 2008, which was a solid decade ago -- and some are 25+ years old. Is there nothing more up-to-date that you can use to back up your opinions?

- It's been a while since I've written a paper for English class (I'm a science major and I recognize that science papers have very different mechanics and requirements), but you might want to look for more support? You make several statements that aren't backed up by citations. And, again, it's been a while since I've written an English paper, but in science we have to back up every single statement that we make with a citation, and you made quite a few claims that weren't supported.

3. What is one thing, according to the rubric, this writer missed or could improve?

I didn't notice anything, except for a few typos and such.

4. What is your overall advice for improving?

I think overall this was a really good essay. The comments I've made in other sections would be my suggestions for improving. ;)

~ ~ ~

Annnnnd, other things that I noticed that didn't fit cleanly into any of the categories above that I thought I'd point out...

Some would question wether or not it is the artists’ fault when children are hearing the explicit language in their songs. It is not the artists

Since this is for a college essay, I thought I'd mention that you misspelled "whether" here, and then forgot the apostrophe on the second artists' here.

One study found that 52 percent of 3 year olds and 73%

Why do you write out "percent" the first time and then use % the second time? I don't know that it necessarily matters which one you use, but it's generally recommended that you have consistency throughout an essay, in whichever method that you choose.

Children are our future, and what the are exposed to now, affects who they will become later in life.

The second comma, after "now", is unneeded. I'm aware that I'm being overly critical but since this was an academic paper I choose to believe that that's what you wanted, so that you can improve it.

~ ~ ~

Overall, though, this was really good! Hope your essay and your class went well! The only other thought that I had is that you might want to delete this in the future before you turn your essay in. A lot of professors have plagiarism checkers that scour the entire web looking for plagiarism, and it might hit on this and make it look like you plagiarized yourself, which would be tricky to explain.

Hope this helps!

~Shady 8)

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65 Reviews

Points: 0
Reviews: 65

Thu Nov 15, 2018 6:31 pm
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queenshadowgem says...

That was written so smartly with intelligent words, that I could almost swear it was a actual factual handout like they give in high school for awareness.

AlexNoelle says...

Oh really? Thank you so much!

Yes and yourwelcome.

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1267 Reviews

Points: 37724
Reviews: 1267

Wed Nov 14, 2018 4:38 pm
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niteowl wrote a review...

Hi Alex! I said I'd take a look at this if you posted it as a work, so here I am!

I'll start by going through the questions your rubric asks, then present any additional thoughts I have.

1. What are two strengths of this essay?
-The thesis statement that's presented before the essay is good, although I think it should be at the end of the introduction in the final product.
-The statements made in the body are backed up by sources. I think the final body paragraph is especially good at explaining how young children are easily influenced by what they're exposed to.
-The essay generally flows well.

2. What are two weaknesses of this essay?

The thesis statement is good, but I feel like the essay only talks about part of it. Reading the statement, I see three major points that I would cover if I were writing the essay.

1) Today's popular music contains language and themes that are inappropriate for children. This is partially discussed, but could be expanded upon. The source stating that 1 in 234 words is a swear word is from 1990, which is pretty old. I would want to use something more recent, as well as explain what lyrics were analyzed since there is no way the study analyzed every lyric that has ever been written.
2) Children are influenced by what they're exposed to. This is well-described in the body paragraphs, though I would like to see a little more focus on music specifically.
3) The systems currently in place are inadequate for protecting children. This is where I feel the essay falls short, and it's very relevant in the modern era of on-demand streaming and endless entertainment options. Mechanisms like the "Parental Advisory" label on CDs don't work in a world where no one listens to CDs. This is where I would summarize the history of previous systems (like the aforementioned Parental Advisory labels) and their pros and cons, as well as any proposed solutions you might come across.

A secondary weakness I see concerns the age and relevance of the sources. Though they seem to be good academic sources, the fact that none of them are less than ten years old is striking. Generally, older sources are good for providing background and defining terms, but more recent papers may contradict what you're saying in the essay or reveal something new on the topic. Also, as I stated above, I would like to see more recent statistics on something like the explicitness of today's music. I'd also like to see more about music specifically in the sources and even something about how the modern media landscape has changed. This might be where news articles could come into play, like I know I've seen something somewhat recently about how inappropriate videos ended up on YouTube Kids.

3. What is one thing, according to the rubric, this writer missed or could improve?
See above.

4. What is your overall advice for improving?
I would condense the points about how inappropriate material influences children and bring in more about current/proposed systems for protecting children. I would also use some more recent sources.

A couple grammar things I noticed:

Some would question whether or not it is the artists’ fault when children are hearing the explicit language in their songs

There's a few other typos, so I'd look this over before turning it in.

The affect of childhood experiences is a well-studied area in developmental psychology.

Affect should be effect here. Generally, although both words have a noun and a verb form, usually "effect" is used as a noun and "affect" is the verb.

In particular, genres or artist’s aimed at children under the age of 9 years old, including promotions on the internet and during children's television programs.

This is actually a fragment. It's essentially a very long subject with no verb attached to it. Something like "should be restricted" at the end would make this a complete sentence.

Overall, this is an interesting topic. Good luck on your assignment! :D

AlexNoelle says...

Thank you so much for your review. This really helps a lot.

I agree with the placement of the thesis, it's current place was the teacher's requirement, not my own idea. I also know that I am missing lots of information, this is only a third of the final product at most. It is an eight week project and this is week three. My professor wants to see what we have so far, so we had to (pretty last-minute) put together what we've gathered so far and we'll copy and paste the good paragraphs in to the actual research paper. This is not by any means a finished essay. More like well-written notes.

Unfortunately, we are not allowed choose our own sources, I too agree that we should've been able to cite more recent studies. But this is just how my college is run... I couldn't tell you why.

The grammar/spelling help and your suggestions of what you'd like to see me add in the essay were particularly helpful. Thanks again,

niteowl says...

Hm...that's strange that you can't choose your own sources. I guess I figured since it was part of the rubric that selecting sources was part of your assignment. Maybe the teacher is trying to ensure you don't use bad sources? Or maybe your school doesn't have the access to larger journals and databases (I have a friend who's adjuncting at a small Catholic university where her students don't have access to as many journals as we did at a research university). Overall, it seems you're off to a great start. :D

AlexNoelle says...

Yeah, I don't get it either. I'm taking the classes online, and we had to let one of the 'online librarians' give us our sources. Some of the other students were luckier than myself. XD Just as a side note, besides the college classes online, I'm actually homeschooled. I'm doing dual enrollment so I'm still in high school.
Thank you for the compliment. I'll continue to work on it

niteowl says...

Hm...if it's an online course, it may be an access issue, since I don't know if non-traditional students would get the same journal access as a traditional student would. If you don't have access to academic journals, students might end up using dubious online sources, so I'm guessing the instructor doesn't want to have to deal with that. Still sounds like a weird system but I guess you have to work with what you get.

Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve.
— J.K. Rowling