Sexual Messages on TV, Movies Not Lost on Children or Teens

by Ed Vitagliano

(AgapePress) – Parents who hope that sex-laced television dialogue is flying over their kids’ heads would have been disappointed if they were watching ABC’s Good Morning America (GMA) on May 4. That morning news program demonstrated that children as young as seven were not ignorant of sexual content on TV.

GMA hosted a room full of boys and girls, ages seven to 10, allowing them to watch a selection of television programming while their parents watched them from another room. The children recognized sexual messages and even commented on the trademark tight outfits worn by pop singer Britney Spears. Two boys said the singer wore clothes that made her “look sexy.”

Diane Levy, education professor and author of Remote Control: Combating the Hazards of Media Culture, told GMA, “Children can’t fully understand sex or how it’s attached to relationships.”

Levy also said studies have shown that children who are exposed to sexual material in media become sexually active earlier in life. She urged parents to pay careful attention to what their kids are watching and listening to, and not to let them have a computer or TV in their room, where it is more difficult for parents to monitor content.

Rated X Leading to Teen Sex?

A startling number of teens are watching explicit X-rated movies, and the consequence-free sex those films promote may be leading to more teenage sexual experimentation, a new study suggests.

According to an article in Reuters Health, Dr. Gina M. Wingood of Emory University and other researchers found that 30% of girls (ages 14 to 18) had viewed an X-rated film in the past three months.

“We were just shocked,” the researcher told Reuters, not just by the number of kids who were watching X-rated movies, but by the sexual behavior of those who watched them.

The data revealed that those who watched hard-core pornography were twice as likely to have multiple sex partners, 1.8 times more likely to have sex more frequently, and 1.7 times more likely to have contracted the sexually transmitted disease chlamydia.

The study, which appears in the May issue of Pediatrics, cited other research on the subject, and said results indicate that “individuals exposed to X-rated films are more accepting of premarital sex, more likely to overestimate the prevalence of sexual activity, more likely to regard sex without emotional commitment as important, and less likely to value the concepts of marriage and monogamy.”

Wingood was careful to stress that the study does not prove that X-rated movies caused those results, but added that it was also possible that the teens were “modeling what they see in X-rated movies.”

(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)

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