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'KIDS ALREADY FEEL CONFINED ENOUGH'

While some advisories are worthwhile, others serve no purpose other than to make parents more concerned than they should be about what we're listening to, and to make us feel like we have less and less control over our lives.

Reel Big Fish is a hit with ska fans everywhere. Its single "Sell Out" is a bouncy, catchy tune about the trials of a new band starting out that doesn't want to work in the fast food business anymore. Its CD can be found at Media Play sporting a Parental Advisory. However, the advisory is a small sticker placed on the outside wrapper, not on the CD itself.

Any good parent should and will say "no way" without considering where the advisory is placed, what it is for, or even if it is valid.

I hate to say it, but stamps on the actual CD for explicit lyrics are usually pretty reliable. But stickers on the plastic wrapping (the cover that can be removed after you purchase it) may be an actual warning or simply an afterthought of the band's label. The producing companies wouldn't want anyone to be angry about one bad lyric, so they can stick these on just to protect themselves.

I can understand that parents don't want their children singing vulgar words at the dinner table, but there are ways to educate them on this issue of lyrics. For instance, tell them when you buy a new CD. Let them hear a song by a band you like. Show them lyrics from your favorite bands.

Help them to trust your judgment, starting with little things like music. (You know how everyone always reminds you to "be responsible"?)

Remind your parents that a lot of your music has a message. Try to help them see past the name of the group and help them focus on why you like your style of music.

If your parents say a certain song is inappropriate, agree not to play that song or find another compromise.

Don't forget that CDs can always be exchanged. If it's not returnable to the store where you bought it, there are a million places that buy and sell used CDs and tapes (Record Theatre at 3500 Main St., Worldwide Music & Video Games at 3100 Main St. and New World Record at 512 Elmwood Ave., just to name a few.)

Try borrowing music from your friends. That way you can show your parents it really isn't bad, instead of just telling them with no proof. If they still don't agree, you didn't waste any money trying.

Kids already feel confined enough, and we don't need adults censoring everything we do. The stronger the measures taken to ensure our innocence the more we'll need to feel rebellious.

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