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Sexualizing Teens Via the Tube

John on November 2, 2008 at 11:10 pm

A surprising new study which I’m certain will become the center of ongoing controversy:

The study is the first to draw a direct link between sexual content on TV and the likelihood that teens who watch it will become parents. Researchers examined survey data from about 2,000 teens. They plucked out 23 popular shows and asked how much teens watched each. They coded the replies to established indicators of sexual content for each show — everything from nudge-nudge jokes on network sitcoms to full-blown intercourse on steamy cable dramas.

What they found: By age 16, teens who watched a lot of sexually charged TV were more than twice as likely to be pregnant or father an out-of-wedlock baby as teens who watched very little: 12% vs. 5%. The gap holds steady through age 20. Researchers controlled for parents’ race, income and education and teens’ total TV time.

Previous studies have linked sex on TV to earlier initiation of sex; this is the first to link TV sex to pregnancy.

According to the sidebar next to the article, ages 16-18 show double the pregnancy rate given high TV exposure (vs. low exposure for the same age groups). That would seem to say a lot about the programming we’re getting.

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Category: Marriage & Family |

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