Effects of sexual television content

The more teenagers watch television that is sexually suggestive (including seemingly innocuous shows such as “According to Jim,” “Friends,” and “Scrubs”), the more likely they are to participate in sexual activities themselves, and to expect to participate in those activities in the near future, according to a 2009 research study.  In addition, the study revealed that the more teenagers watch sexually suggestive TV, the less likely they are to believe that sexual activity has negative consequences.

On the bright side, rule-setting by parents about how much their teenagers watch TV, and what they can and cannot watch, reduced these negative outcomes. In other words, the more parents set rules about their teenagers watching shows with sexually suggestive content, and the more parents talked with their kids about such content, the less likely the kids were to participate in sexual activities. Full results of the study can be found at:  Fisher, D.A., et al. (2009). Televised sexual content and parental mediation: Influences on adolescent sexuality. Media Psychology, 12, 121-147.

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1 Comment

Filed under Parent involvement, TV

One response to “Effects of sexual television content

  1. Sex references seem to be everywhere on TV. Many parents don’t even notice but the kids do! Talking about the sexual references can be hard for parents; they often don’t know what to say or how to bring it up. Parent comments can be simple and effective. My kids heard this a lot, “It’s not like that in real life.” And I would follow with why/how. Here’s one example, “People don’t have sex after a 20 minute date.”
    My best advice to parents – just dive in and get started. Talking to your kids about sexual matters gets easier with time and practice. DON’T think you can get away without talking about sex – you don’t want your kids to pick up the messages of the culture.
    It’s your job to instill values and context. And you can do it – I see parents succeed at the job all the time.

    Amy Sluss, RN
    Author of Talking to Your Kids about Sex: Beyond “The Talk”

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