How the Media Affects Teen Sexuality Term Paper

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Media affects Teenage Sexuality

On an average, a teenager would watch about three to four hours of television in one day, and most of these children would be subjected to an overdose of sexual content on the television, in the form of either kissing, or other types of sexual touching, and at times even simulated sexual intercourse. At other times, the program that the teenager watches would be filled with sexual innuendos and jokes and subtle messages and blatant conversations on sex. The attitude of the media is that all this is juts a casual presentation of sex, that would not have any type of risk or serious results, but studies have revealed that it may not have casual consequences for these teenagers. In fact, one study that was conducted by the RAND Corporation has revealed that there is indeed a strong co-relation between the sexual activity of the teenager and the various television programs that they generally watch. More than 2000 adolescents were studied, initially in the year 2001, and later in the year 2002, in a survey asking these teenagers how often they watched certain television programs that are full of sexual connotations and content, and also whether or not they were led to engage in various sexual activities as a direct consequence of these programs. (Study finds TV sex affects Teen attitudes and choices)

The results of the study showed that these programs had a very direct result on the sexual activity of the teenagers who watched the programs on a regular basis. In addition, according to the results that were published in September of 2004 in 'Pediatrics', those teenagers who watched these programs regularly did indeed start to indulge in sexual activities the very next year following their television viewing, and those who did not, and were therefore less exposed to the sexual content of these television programs, were less likely to start their sexual activities.

In other words, watching television programs that had a high sexual content was very likely to initiate a teenager into sexual activity, much earlier than before, and what made it even worse was the fact that it was not necessary that the child watch simulated sex or even scenes that showed kissing and other sexual activity; he merely had to listen to the various talk shows aired on television about sexual activity, and that would be sufficient to influence him into the initiation of his own sexual activity, at a tender age. However, the survey also showed that talk shows about contraception and pregnancy did have a benefit, in that it encouraged the teenager to approach his parents for advice on these issues about which he lacked awareness, and this was indeed a very good development. Not only would the parents be able to advise their children about the risks and the consequences of sexual activity, but they would also bond in a way that would make the teenager approach them for any advice, later in life as well. (Study finds TV sex affects Teen attitudes and choices)

A report made by Associated Press had stated that one scientist of the research team of RAND Corporation had made a very revealing statement that, although most television programs did depict sexual scenes, and aired programs with sexual content, what these programs never did was to show a clear picture of the negative aspects of sexual activity. In other words, the results of unprotected or unadvised teenage sex are never revealed, and this is in fact something that the adolescent does not show any interest in learning, maybe because the actual truth is much too bitter to face. A media spokesman of 'Viacom' has made a comment that the television is only one of many influences on a teenager's life, and it is most definitely not the only single influence on him; he may be influenced by many other factors, and this may be form the media and also elsewhere. Therefore, while many television and media representatives scoff at the influence that television viewing of sexual content may have on teenagers, the real fact is that a large number of pro-family people have been condemning the very real proliferation and the abundance of sexual content on television and also in other forms of the media, for quite some time now, and have been stating that this is an extremely unhealthy phenomenon, especially for the younger teenager. (Study finds TV sex affects Teen attitudes and choices)

In another article in the Journal of Pediatrics, the author states that although there is more sexual depiction in the mass media today than there ever was, it is however, not clear how exactly these teenagers actually react to these forms of sexual imagery on television and other media. A team of researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, headed by S. Liliana Escobar Chaves, says that this type of unhealthy 'gap in knowledge' may cause more harm than ever before, and it would end up in having serious unhealthy consequences on the teenager of today. The author also says that although the effect of mass media on violence, eating disorders, and tobacco and alcohol usage have all been documented, but the effect of the media on teenage sexuality has not been studied and analyzed as much as the other issues, and as a result, there are no real facts and figures available for this particular issue. (Media's Effect on Teenage Sex not known)

For example, out of 2,522 studies, from the years 1983 to 2004 that were conducted on youth, and the impact of the media on them, only thirteen studies actually examined sexual issues, and this in itself shows the apathy of the general population towards this very important issue, and even those studies that focused on the impact of the media on teenage sexuality did in fact lay primary focus on television and movies, and therefore, nothing is known about how teenagers have reacted to sexually charged music on radio, or to magazines with sexual content, or the Internet, or the favored video and computer games that these teenagers enjoy playing. This sort of 'gap' in knowledge will have serious consequences, because of the fact that most adolescents accept and also emulate the behavior that is depicted in the media as being completely normal and ordinary, and they assume that this is the way in which things are done in a normal world, and therefore, these teenagers must be warned against emulating and copying such behaviors.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has in fact lambasted the entire media for showing situations wherein unmarried couples can indulge in promiscuity, but at the same time never catches an infectious disease or get pregnant, and this totally unrealistic picture would most definitely give the wrong picture about sex and sexual issues to these easily influenced teenagers. Dr. Rose of the same Association has stated that most parents and health care providers should be very troubled by these findings, and the sexual saturation in the media is not at all good in the long run, and since more than 83% of all the programs watched by teenagers contains explicit sexual material, the ill effects of such programs must be researched and documented with urgency and haste. For example, more than 800,000 teenagers become pregnant every year, and every year, more than four million cases of sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed. (Media's Effect on Teenage Sex not known)

The 'Impact of the Media on Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors' found that on average, a typical teenager spends about a third of every day watching several types of media programs, without parental consent, and in the year 1999, it was dicsovered that forty two percentage of all top selling songs sold on Compact Discs containde sexual content, and 41% of the content was either 'very explicit', or 'pretty explicit', and the same thing could be said for various radio programs as well. On an average, children typically agde between nine and seventeen spent about two hours daily, online, and had access to the Internte about four times a week, and as is widely acknowledged, the Internet is full of sexual content and imagery. (Media's Effect on Teenage Sex not known)

All teenagers are routinely exposed to certain values through the Internet, more often than not without the awareness and consent of their parents, and most teenagers often go to the Internet to search for information about sex that they are afraid or embarrassed to ask their parents about. One special issue of the Journal of Applied Development Psychology that was devoted to research on the electronic media and its impact on teenagers, has stated that children, when using the Internet, and are actively seeking pornography, are exposed to the explicit content of the pornography on the Internet, but the tragedy is that even those children who are not actively seeking out such sites are often inadvertently exposed to such content, and the impact on…[continue]

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