"Mon, Nov 03, 2008 Reuters Teen pregnancy linked to sexy TV shows: study
Exposure to some forms of entertainment is a corrupting influence on children, leading teens who watch sexy programs into early pregnancies and children who play violent video games to adopt aggressive behavior, researchers claim.
Researchers at the RAND research organization said their three-year study was the first to link viewing of racy television programming with risky sexual behavior by teens.
"Our findings suggest that television may play a significant role in the high rates of teenage pregnancy in the United States," said Anita Chandra, a behavioral scientist who led the research at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "We're not saying we're establishing causation, but we are saying this is one factor that we were able to prospectively link to the teen pregnancy outcome."
The researchers recruited adolescents aged 12 to 17 and surveyed them three times between 2001 and 2004, asking about television viewing habits, sexual behavior and pregnancy.
In findings that covered 718 teenagers, there were 91 pregnancies. The top 10th of adolescents who watched the most sexy programming were at double the risk of becoming pregnant or causing a pregnancy compared to the 10th who watched the fewest such programs, according to the study published in the journal Pediatrics.
The study focused on 23 free and cable television programs popular among teenagers including situation comedies, dramas, reality programs and animated shows. Comedies had the most sexual content and reality programs the least.
Teen pregnancy rates in the United States have declined sharply since 1991 but remain high compared to other industrialized nations. Nearly 1 million girls aged 15 to 19 years old become pregnant yearly, or about 20 percent of sexually active females in that age group. Most of the pregnancies were unplanned, the report said.
Young mothers are more likely to quit school, require public assistance and live in poverty, it said.
"Television is just one part of a teenager's media diet that helps to influence their behavior. We should also look at the roles that magazines, the Internet and music play in teens' reproductive health," Chandra said, acknowledging still other factors can influence teen sex habits."
A rather long quote tonight but a necessary one in my opinion.
Lessons for me are:
1. public media has a large influence in shaping the values and behaviors of people, especially the impressionable teenagers. When they are influenced at this young age, the damages can be irreversible! So, we need to look out for them. Help prevent them from being able to watch such inappropriate TV programs through censorship, keeping in touch with the kids by the parents on what they are watching on TV, etc;
2. the parents will be the most appropriate persons to help the kids. The affluence in our society allowed some of us to put TV set in every room of the house. The Western world liberal parenting approach is not wrong had it not being 'too liberal'! At the age when the kids' still developing their ability to think properly, we, the adults, cannot shirk the responsibilities to be there for them to sift out the inappropriate thoughts and contents. Maybe we can start by not putting TV sets too easily available to the kids?;
3. the wayward teens that got pregnant need a lot of help to get through life. While they are already paying for their indiscretion or ignorant act or 'innocent' act, we need to help them plan their life in the future after giving birth! Society need to give them a 2nd chance. They need to give themselves a 2nd chance. Developing their independent thinking ability will be key. Only when they are able to judge their behaviors are detrimental to their own health and future, nothing will really change.