Drug testing

The Effects of Televised Sexual Content on Adolescents

According to a September 2004 study by the RAND Corporation, "Adolescents who watch large amounts of television containing sexual content are twice as likely to begin engaging in sexual intercourse in the following year as their peers who watch little such TV." In addition, the National Institutes of Health-funded study found that these children's sexual behavior was akin to those adolescents who were 9 to 17 months older, but who watched only average amounts of TV with sexual content.

"Television habits predicted whether adolescents went to 'second or third base,' as well as whether they had sex for the first time," said Rebecca Collins, a RAND psychologist who led the study. "The 12-year-olds who watched a lot of television with sexual content behaved like the 14- or 15-years-olds who watched the least amount of sexual television. The advancement in sexual behavior we saw among kids who watched a lot of sexual television was striking."

This alarming trend occurs within the context of ever-increasing amounts of implicit and over sexual content on television. As reported by the Parents Television Council, "In a sample of programming from the 2001-2002 TV season, sexual content appeared in 64% of all TV programs. Those programs with sexually related material had an average of 4.4 scenes per hour. Talk of sex is more frequent (61%) vs. overt portrayals (32%). One out of every 7 programs includes a portrayal of sexual intercourse." According to the RAND study, talk of sex had just as much of an effect on adolescent sexual behavior as overt behaviors.

Sexual behavior among U.S. teens is on the rise. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 46% of all high school students have had sexual intercourse. The National Institutes of Health has found that, each year, one of every four sexual active teens contracts a sexually transmitted disease. Teen pregnancy in the U.S. is also the highest among industrialized nations.

Now, more than ever, parents need to be concerned about what their children are watching on television. The first step parents need to take is to monitor the content of the shows their adolescents watch. According to RAND researcher Collins, "The impact of television viewing is so large that even a moderate shift in the sexual content of adolescent TV watching could have a substantial effect on their sexual behavior."

Other important steps you can take to curb or mitigate your children's exposure to sexual content on television include:

  • Watch TV with your children and discuss your beliefs about sex and about the sexual behaviors portrayed on TV.
  • Develop TV-watching guidelines for your children and enforce them.
  • Limit the amount of time your children watch TV. Instead, use family movie reviews to rent movies with appropriate content.
  • Encourage and reward your children for reading instead of watching TV.
  • Encourage your children to find and develop non-television related hobbies and interests.

By taking these simple steps, you can help to ensure that your adolescents' attitudes and beliefs about sex more closely mirror your own, and that their sexual initiation is delayed.

Brent Sitton is the founder of DiscoveryJourney.com. DiscoveryJourney has a variety of tools available to give parents help to avoid the effects of media sexual content, such as a child book list and movie list with media free of sexual content. Discovery Journey's Children's Book Review and Family Movie Review include a list of positive character traits and negative behaviors, along with a Character Score that helps parents select appropriate child entertainment.

In The News:

A lagoon in western Greece is starting to look more like an abandoned home's basement than a picturesque shoreline.
An angler in Georgia recently reeled in a Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle off a pier in Tybee Island.
An alligator was spotted in a New Jersey township this week, authorities say -- and are asking people to report if they see the creature.
Residents affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Florence may have noticed something unusual floating in the storm’s floodwaters: “islands” of fire ants.
Two tiny explorers are pushing the bounds of their kind, but if scientists have their way, the two adventurers will soon have plenty of company.
A new study shows that dozens of ice volcanoes used to litter the surface of the dwarf planet, Ceres billions of years ago.
This is the moment a snorkeler swimming in Scotland spotted a huge dorsal fin behind his pal - and realized a massive shark was directly behind them.
Archaeologists believe they have found the final resting place of Captain James Cook's ship HMS Endeavour off the East Coast of America.
An actual astronaut has suggested he — or any qualified person — may be useful to tech billionaire Elon Musk’s planned round trip to the Moon in 2023.
An ancient, 2,000-year-old Roman cemetery has been found in Lincolnshire, England. Included in the find were pieces of pottery, skeletons and "grave goods" for the deceased.

Parenting Your Teenager: 3 Ways to Make the Time

Every now and then I'll get a story sent to... Read More

Bedtime and Sleep Habits

Bedtime and children's sleep habits can cause nightmares - for... Read More

Teach Children The Skills Of Optimism

Optimists do better academically, socially and enjoy better health than... Read More

My Sons Deployment

One of the most difficult struggles in life for a... Read More

Maturing As a Parent

I have three children, ages 19 and 16 (yes, the... Read More

How Often Does Child Sexual Abuse Get Reported?

Not nearly as often as it should. Most child abuse... Read More

In Defense of the Jelly Bean

Should a parent give a child a tangible reward when... Read More

The Free Ride In Public Schools

To protect children's self-esteem or deflect complaints by parents, many... Read More

I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream, But Not For Ice Cream!

We all scream for ice cream. Or, we don't, at... Read More

Play the Ball, Not the Man!

As parents and teachers, sometimes we want to praise, at... Read More

Parenting Your Teenager: Self-Decorating or Self-Harm - How to Tell the Difference

Q. I need your help with a question about my... Read More

Child Separation Anxiety: Does Your Child Have It?

If you are a parent, then more than likely you... Read More

Diagnosing ADHD in Your Child, an Introduction

Everyone in a private practice setting who works with children... Read More

Why Wont My Child Do as I Say?

In speaking with parents a comment I frequently hear is... Read More

Home For The Holidays: Is it Time for That Talk?

Just a couple of years ago Annie helped her parents... Read More

Baptisms And Alternative Ways To Hold A Naming Ceremony

Traditionally, babies have been named at a christening/baptism.... Read More

Late Night Adventures with Your Children

Vacations are fun ! Weekends with the family are nice.... Read More

Ten Ways to Help Your Child Make Friends

Nothing touches the heartstrings of a parent or teacher more... Read More

Mommies and Me Special Time

Creating and making special memories with your child is very... Read More

14 Romantic Time-Outs for Parents

Here are fourteen spontaneous time-outs, specially designed to help you... Read More

The Secret To Keeping Kids Interested on Family Vacations

Vacations and trips are great family events, but how do... Read More

From Good to GREAT: Secrets On Becoming A Better Dad

While most fathers aspire to become the best Dads they... Read More

Are Parents Trying Too Hard?

One of the implications of the current trend toward smaller... Read More

Clean Slates and Fresh Starts

Hope, excitement and anxiety all wrapped up in fresh haircuts... Read More

Stroller Safety Tips

Strollers offer a wonderful and convenient service to parents and... Read More

led lighting wholesalers led garage lights Pete's produce ..