Middle and high school students are overwhelmingly au fait with the latest pop music videos but careful sift the grain from the chaff online before downloading the ones they like on their portable gadgets.
A survey of 86 high school and 65 middle school students at a crammer in Noryangjin and another in Mia-dong, Seoul by the Chosun Ilbo reveals that 109 out of 151 had watched the music video for Brown Eyed Girls' "Abracadabra," while 42 and 35 students had seen the raunchy videos for "No Love No More" by Park Jin-young and "Touch Me" by Ivy. Asked by which one or more means they prefer to watch them, 72 percent said the Internet, 18 chose PMP or MP4 players, and 10 mobile phones, indicating that they pick a handful of clips they watch online for repeat viewing.
Industry insiders say it now costs an average of W10-20 million (US$1=W1,164) to produce a music video. Only seven or eight years ago there were plenty of "blockbuster" videos made for billions of won. But the seismic shift in the music industry brought on by online distribution has shifted the trend from high concept to raunchy videos, which are bound to hook adolescent viewers and cost little to make. Music video director Seo Hyun-seung said, "Because girl groups don't differ much musically, they compete in the end by trying to appeal with more graphic visual imagery."
There are concerns that the sexually explicit material is harmful to youngsters. A team led by Shin Yee-jin, a psychiatry professor at Yonsei University College of Medicine, surveyed 155 adolescents who committed sexual offenses and found that 40 percent said they were aroused by material on the Internet and TV and 23 percent pinpointed video clips and online chat as the biggest contributors to their crime.
Ji Jung-soon, a media expert at the Bright Youth Center, said, "Some overtly sexual music videos are especially problematic as adolescents watch them every day but adults don't think it's serious enough to do anything about it." Ji said since adolescents take an avid interest in celebrities and pop culture and will watch any video available, such erotically charged videos can get them aroused in situations where that is inappropriate, and that might lead to sexual offenses.