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iPod Addiction: 8 Pros vs Cons and How to Balance

Posted Feb 10 2009 10:16am

A moody teenager with those little white earbuds in their ears has become the symbol of our (the net) generation. I have many parents complain to me that “kids never stop listening to their iPod’s and MP3 players!”

I think I might fall into that category especially when I travel.  I love my earbuds (and by earbuds I mean headphone/earphones/ipods/MP3s and maybe even CD players), here is why:

The Pros of iPod Use

1. Annoying People

OK, you know when you are flying on a plane and you see that the person sitting next to you for the next five hours didn’t bring a bag…or a book…or even a water.  Earbuds to the rescue!

2. Theme Music for Life

There is something to that commercial about the guy who has his own theme song as he walks through life.  I have playlists for tons of situations.  Here are my playlists:
- Driving music
-Walking music
-Workout music
-Working music
-Romance music
-Party music
-Kick Back music
-Chinese music (don’t ask)

3. Educational

When I have my earbuds in, I am not always listening to music.  Sometimes I listen to books on tape, podcasts, and foreign language learning lessons.

4. Happy-nomics

Music makes you happy.  When I ma stressed or in a bad mood, my iPhone is such a comfort.  I know I can plug in my earbuds, put on some good tunes and just zone out.  Traffic has become much less of an issue for me know that I carry my music-maker around with me.

Cons of iPod Use

1. Ear Damage

Many teens play their music extremely loudly.  I am sometimes at the gym and can hear the person next to me’s music even with my earbuds in!  This can cause some serious damage.

2. Rudeness

I always feel bad when parents are trying to talk to their kids and their kids have one earbud in while they are listening.  Ok, I said life could have a theme song…not your parents!  It can also be rude when people are listening to their music while checking out in a grocery store (and then keep saying, “what, what did you say” to the clerk) or in public.

3. You Miss Life

You also might miss the ambulance going by…be careful when you drive (in some states it is illegal to listen in the car).  Music can enhance life, but there is something to be said for going for a walk in the park and hearing the birds, the kids playing and the reggae band.  Take them out and listen to the sounds of life every once in a while.

4. Anti-Social

You do not meet people when you are listening to music.  When I am in the subway, when I travel sometimes I take out my earbuds just to see who I can meet—I am an abnormally social person though, at conferences I stand in the coffee line even when I don’t want coffee just to talk to the people in front and behind me.

I think with music and iPod addiction, it is all about balance.  Try the following with yourself or your kids:

Tips for Controlling iPod Addiction and Music Junkies

*Stop it early

If you are just getting into the addiction or just bought a youngen’ an iPod, stop them before they become a junkie.  Make sure to set limits right away.

*Have hard boundaries and limits

Whether you are dealing with yourself or your kids.  Set firm boundaries about when they can and should listen to music.
For teens:
-Not when driving
-Not when talking to parents, adults or teachers
-Not during tests or homework

Take a day off every once in a while

I try to take walks without my music every once in a while.  I also try to go weekends or a day or so every few weeks completely unplugged.  Scary, but so good!

This post is dedicated to my cousins Gideon, Gabe and Eitan Arom, not because they are addicted to their iPods! But because they are all amazing musicians and so talented.  I love listening to you guys jam, and you DJ the coolest parties. (They are the cool part of the family)

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iPod Addiction: 8 Pros vs Cons and How to Balance

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