iPod Addiction: 8 Pros vs Cons and How to Balance

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)

If you liked this article get more Radical Parenting in our new book: Do I Get My Allowance Before or After I’m Grounded?

  • Elirida

    first off let me say this, I love my ipod to death so don’t try to talk me out of being addicted to it. I think it it’s a little crazy to say that kids miss out on life. being a kid myself, I don’t see kids with their earbuds in 24 seven so i think that’s being a little extreme and mean. I also dont think that ipods are the symble of our generation or watever cause everybody now has cell phones not ipods.

  • http://www.wiglingtonandwenks.com virtual worlds for kids

    I used to think that i’m an ipod addict. but after a while, i started to realise ‘no i’m not’, i’m the other one. music junkies! i hv to keep the music on even when i’m sleeping or studying.
    what i dont get here , it’s the tips of controlling ipod addiction and music junkie.
    yes, I have hard boundaries and limits, and i take a day off every once in a while, but why ‘stop it early’? I just dont think that being a music junkie will bring any harm to anyone..

  • Vanessa Van Petten

    I think everything is about balance, and if you love your music and it is not taking you away from life but adding to it, I think that is all we can ask for!

    Vanessa

  • Pingback: Stuart Fleming

  • ren

    How can you dedicate this piece to musicians and then want to dissuade people from becoming music junkies? To be honest, I think there’s generally a difference between the kids who seem inseparable from their mp3 players and people who are addicted to music. I think the former either tend to be addicted to the mp3 player itself and/or are the kind of people who can’t stand silence, as a lot of young people nowadays tend to be. It’s not so much about the music. I listen to my mp3 player a lot, but it’s usually just the love of music and boredom that drive it. And being a “music junkie” at an early age is exactly the reason why I got into music production and songwriting, and loving electronics such as mp3 players is why I’m pursuing a new career in the Information Technology industry. So is it really all bad?

    I also want to point out that, at least for me–but I think also for MANY people–um, our wearing buds and headphones is a message to others sometimes. That message would be “Don’t talk to me.” This goes to your point about being anti-social. You ARE abnormally social, but I also might be the opposite end of the scale. It honestly pisses me off when people can see I have earphones in or headphones on and they still come up and try to talk to me. I’m in the music zone, trying to enjoy it, so talking to others is not what I want to do at that moment and suddenly I have to just to be respectful. It’s not like I wear them in public, like the grocery store, either. I’m talking my bedroom or public transportation, where pretty much no one talks to anyone else (at least in Chicago) unless they know each other. It’s kind of like you were saying about the airplane–you don’t always want to spend the flight talking to somebody you don’t know.

  • Pingback: Ten Minas Ministry » Blog Archive » Ipods, MP3 players and why you shouldn’t pretend they’re going to disappear

  • Hunter Quillen

    Awesome reasons!!!

  • Chyenne

    My daughter’s boyfriend is addicted to the Itouch. He is 24 years old — most of the time, he doesn’t even respond to people who are speaking to him a few feet away. He goes to work for several hours, comes home,literally snaps the I-touch out of its holster, while plopping down in a chair for the rest of the evening. I have personally seen him on it for more than 6 hours without taking a break!

    Finally, my duagher and he were going to split up. Because she was not being heard and virtually ignored, it became a constant one-sided argument. It is just like alcohol addiction, only without the physical violence. All the Apps calling out to him — just one more level to go, etc.

    Seriously, how can you possibly have a relationship without COMMUNICTION? Eye ball to Eye ball! It is obviously an addiction when you can’t and won’t give time to the ones you supposedly care about.

    What is really sad is that “ren” is right, being rude has become the norm. Clearly, the “I” Generation is just that – I touch – Ipod – I – I…. it is all about what “I” want. I want to keep staring into this plastic screen and not develop our relationship. In fact, I know that I am destroying our relationship, but don’t care —- perhaps?

    My suggestion: Man up to your addiction and set up rules for your building your relationship UP. Touch your girlfriend — It is hard enough to build happy and healthy relationships — it takes one on one communication with one another.

    Obviously, You should feel fortunate the a gorgeous woman wants to be part of your life, here, in the Real World. Be careful, she may start looking for a non-addict!

  • Vanessa Van Petten

    Great comment Chyenne!

  • http://sweepstakeadvantage.net/BackToSchool/ backpacks high school

    This website has got lots of very helpful info on it. Thanks for informing me.

  • http://www.sarahmariejournal.blogspot.com Sarah j.

    All of that is true for teens and many other people. I listen to music everytime I drive and nothing bad has ever happened I try to keep the volume just high enough that I can hear it and the outside of the car.

    Anyway, your right about the headphones or earbuds I can’t even stand them they don’t fit my ears and they are just a lot of hassle with cord. I think it’s time for wireless. I use speakers with my MP3 in my room and in the car I just use my CD player in my car.

  • http://WebsiteURL JulietxxRomeo

    Well, I agree with you. But isnt being addicted to music better then being addicted to drugs and alchol and other things. I have to say that not all music is bad for you. becausei listen to classical music while studing or reading and it effect my learning more then total silence.

  • Candie

    I appreciate what you’ve wrote and thank you for bringing up topics some feel they shouldn’t.
    Also being addicted to anything is bad, even when it’s music.