Tuesday, July 05, 2005

This just in... explicit sex on TV affects kids


AUSTIN, Texas, July 5 /PRNewswire/ -[off the wire, no link]- The most comprehensive review of research conducted to date into the impact sexual imagery in media has on youth, published today in the Journal of Pediatrics, reveals a dangerous lack of knowledge about how young people are being affected.

The study, conducted by S. Liliana Escobar-Chaves, DrPH, and colleagues at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston under contract to The Medical Institute for Sexual Health, systematically reviewed all biomedical and social science research conducted from 1983 to 2004 that explored effects of mass media on youth. Of the 2,522 research-related documents examined, less than 1 percent addressed the impact of mass media on adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors.

"Every parent and healthcare provider should be very troubled by these findings," commented Gary L. Rose, MD, president and CEO of The Medical Institute. "Our children are saturated in sexual imagery. For example, the average teenager spends three to four hours per day watching television and 83 percent of the programming most frequently watched by adolescents contains some sexual content. Yet we have never stopped to ask what effect all this sexual content in television, the Internet and music has on young people." Highlights of the study, "The Impact of the Media on Adolescent Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors," include: * Adolescents who are exposed to television with sexual content are more likely to overestimate the frequency of some sexual behaviors, have more permissive attitudes toward premarital sex, and, according to one research study, initiate sexual behavior. However, methodological limitations exist in all of these studies.

And liberals think we're such prudes when we freak out when Janet Jackson's boob falls out, or when there are sexually graphic sitcoms (everyone remember the Seinfeld masturbation contest? Who's the "master or their domain?"), or when parents have to start explaining Will & Grace to their 6 year old. The FCC sets the standards and when those standards aren't met the station gets fined or the public reacts by boycotting sponsors.

Parents have a tough enough time battling pop culture as it is, and our children should remain protected and innocent as long as possible. Anyone think that this might be why our teen pregnancy rates have been skyrocketing over the last few decades?