TV sex and Teen Parenthood - The Big Connection

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • It's an interesting study and it has very provocative findings with regards to teen sex and pregnancy.  New research shows that teens who spend alot of time watching shows on TV that are "sexually-charged" (think Sex and the City) are twice as likely to become pregnant or impregnate someone else (when compared to teens who clock less TV time watching these shows).  These findings were reported in the November issue of Pediatrics but don't conclusively prove a direct consequence relationship.  They should make parents consider the findings seriously.


    Why?  Because most shows glamorize sex and even its consequences.  Kids may not realize that sex has its pitfalls, especially teens, whose brain still has not matured to the point of impulse control and connecting sexual actions and significant consequences (and that is unfortunately a reality for many, even if it sounds a bit far-fetched).  Previously, TV with sexually charged topics had been linked to increased teen sex.  This study was trying to find an additional connection to teen pregnancy.

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    About 1 in 3 girls in the US gets pregnant before age 20.  Though overall birth rates have declined, birth rates in that age group are slightly up since 2006.  This particular research study was based on interviews with girls and took into account race, parent's education, and it found that those who watched the most sexually charged TV were twice as likely to get pregnant (female teens) or impregnate (male teens) someone else since the start of this research survey.  And is it so surprising?  After all, kids and teens follow modeled behavior - so if they are watching shows where the women who seem powerful, independent, pretty, happy, are having sex and even making single motherhood manageable - why wouldn't they think its a good thing??


    But researchers caution that they are still examining the findings to rule out other contributing causes.  That being said, you should know what your teens are doing....and watching.

Published On: November 03, 2008