November 6, 2008

Pop Culture Effects Behavior

We all know there is a ton of sex on TV. That's not news to anyone who watches TV regularly. We also know that tons of kids are having sex (what they hell do you think they are doing after school?) Many shows revolve around the sex lives of the characters. The reality is we like to watch people have sex on TV with hardly any consequences. It's rare, if ever, that you see anyone discuss practicing safe sex, let alone practicing safe sex. That's one reason why Hollywood is called la la land.

I'm not one that blames TV for its effect on our lives, I just acknowledge that TV and other forms of entertainment does effect real life.

Looks like that effect is finally quantified in a new study from the Rand Corporation which links sexual content on TV to teen pregnancy.

Researchers at the nonprofit organization found that adolescents with a high level of exposure to television shows with sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone as those who saw fewer programs of this kind over a period of three years.
This is a clear clarion call for TV producers to be more responsible about how they handle teen sex and sexuality. Throw a couple of condoms on the bedside table, show a hand reaching for one. That's a start.

Dr. Yolanda Wimberly, an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the Morehouse School of Medicine and the medical director for the Center for Excellence in Sexual Health said it best:

"You cannot expect to have a sexually saturated society with all of your media outlets, but then, at the same time, be surprised when this influences people and their behaviors," she said. "If you're going to do it, then you need to make sure you follow it up with education that people need to make responsible decisions."

Study links sexual content on TV to teen pregnancy (CNN)