Is Television Promoting Promiscuity in Teenagers and Children?
Television has become one of the most easily accessible ways for children and adolescents to learn about sexuality. The exposure of American children to sex images on TV constantly increases. Children and adolescents are extremely susceptible to sexual messages broadcast on television. Very often, children and adolescents replace with TV programs other important activities. In this situation, it comes as no surprise that children and adolescents develop and change their sexual behaviors. Television has proved to be a potent instrument of sexual behavior transformations in children. The media reinforce new sexual beliefs and stereotypes in children. As a result of television sexual content, teenagers and children can often be heavily influenced into promiscuity, therefore; their acts can even consequence into teen pregnancy.
The influences of televised sex on children and adolescents are complex and controversial, and it is wrong to assume that these influences are entirely negative. Even if televised sexual content does have the potential to affect children’s sexual behaviors, television’s sex education potential should not be taken for granted. “Television can also be a positive force in the sex education of youth and has the potential to affect a broad cross section of teens” (Collins 119). In a recent study, Collins found that television could teach the risks of early sexual activity and responsibilities imposed on children by sex (119). Television can teach safe sexual activities in ways that books and classroom instructions cannot, by using real-life examples with which children and adolescents can identify. Recent experiences of collaboration among television producers, Hollywood script writers, and non-profit organizations have led to the emergence of sexually responsible content, such as Felicity, shows that “portray homosexual youth and teach children and adolescents how to use condoms” (Brown 255). This, however, is an idealistic picture of the TV-children relationship.
In reality, television presents a distorted picture of sexuality and sexual relationships. “Recent analysis of televised content suggests that, on average, children and adolescents watch almost 150 sexual behavior incidents on TV every week” (Gruber 211). Gruber reviewed the current literature on adolescent sexuality and its relation to mass media and concluded that the amount of televised sexual contacts between unmarried partners was much higher than between spouses (211). To continue, 60% of music videos include sexualized content and of the remaining 40%, most videos include displays of either sexually suggestive body movements or provocative clothing (Gruber 211). “The most significant finding is that sexuality on TV is always portrayed in a positive light” (Gruber 211). In other words, television sends the message that being sexually active is the same as being good and normal. Unfortunately, all these messages about sexuality are stereotypical and harmful for youth, and it is unlikely that television will shift toward a more useful portrayal of sexuality anytime soon. Therefore, while television continues generating inappropriate sexual behaviors in children, it is better to reduce the amount of time they spend in front of their TV screens.
Television depicts sexuality in ways that lead to an early onset of sexual behaviors in children and adolescents. “The amount of time spent with the media continues to increase, and sexually-explicit televised content further distorts children’s worldview” (Villani 399). Sexuality on TV increases the risks of sexually inappropriate and unsafe behaviors. “Televised sexuality reduces children’s capacity to build and sustain productive relationships with peers” (Villani 399). Soap operas and sexually-oriented TV shows expose children to the contents that cannot be appropriately processed and interpreted. As a result, children fail to...
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Sex Research (2002): n.pag. Web. 11 Apr. 2012
Brown’s article offers great statistics and data to support my paragraphs
Chandra, Anita. “Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings from a
National Longitudinal Survey of Youth.” Pediatrics, 122 (2008): 147-54
Condom-Efficacy Information in an Episode of Friends. Pediatrics, 112 (2003): 115-121. Print.
Knowledge and Implications.” Western Journal of Medicine, 172 (2000): 210-14. Print.
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