Music is influential to people of all ages. Music is incorporated in so many daily activities and events because of the feelings and messages that it can deliver. For example, many people choose their church based on the style of music. There are churches that use the old "tried and true" hymnals that are peaceful and humbling. Gospel music is uplifting and inspirational and brings a sense of hope to any situation.
Music is used to celebrate, mourn, learn, inspire, dance, tell stories, etc...That being said, music has to effect young people who are vulnerable and in a state of discovering who they are as individuals. It serves as a means of expression and often a display of rebellion, or proving that they are their own person.
For all of time, there has been music that wasn't approved of by the older generations but was popular with the youth. From Elvis to Hendrix and rock n' roll to rap teens have been drawn to the forbidden, the crossing the line, style of music of their generation.
Music is an outlet, usually used positively, to express feelings. A child who is otherwise healthy, socially and mentally, is not going to turn into a monster because of the genre of music they choose. However, for those who are suffering emotionally and hurting or angry, music can feed those already negative thoughts and actions. I have often said that if your child is locked in their bedroom, getting high, and listening to a record backwards there is probably an issue much bigger than the music he/she is listening to. And, that issue was brought on by something that happened long before the music.
As a mother of boys, 16 & 12, and a daughter, 4, I often cringe at the music the boys are listening to especially if their younger sister is in hearing range. Of course, I express my concerns; I talk to them about offensive lyrics and degrading lines. This is my job as a parent. I am responsible for molding their values and behaviors. I have to believe that all of the morals and rules and guidelines that I have instilled in them, over a lifetime, have more influence than a song.
Let's face it, when most of us look back on our teenage years and the bands and performers that we idolized it almost seems silly. I still love 80's rock and big hair bands but the big hair and makeup kind of make me chuckle now.
Yes, music is influential and has an effect on young people. More often than not, that effect is a positive one that promotes individuality.