Answer to Teen Pregnancy: Broadcast More Realistic Depictions of Sex

File this under example of insanity:

ScienceDaily (Nov. 3, 2008) — Adolescents who have high levels of exposure to television programs that contain sexual content are twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy over the following three years as their peers who watch few such shows, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

The study, published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, is the first to establish a link between teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV and either pregnancies among girls or responsibility for pregnancies among boys.

"Adolescents receive a considerable amount of information about sex through television and that programming typically does not highlight the risks and responsibilities of sex," said Anita Chandra, the study’s lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND, a nonprofit research organization. "Our findings suggest that television may play a significant role in the high rates of teenage pregnancy in the United States."

Researchers from RAND Health say that exposure to sex on television may influence teen pregnancy by creating the perception that there is little risk to engaging in sex without using contraceptives and accelerating the initiation of sexual intercourse.

"The amount of sexual content on television has doubled in recent years, and there is little representation of safer sex practices in those portrayals," Chandra said. "While some progress has been made, teenagers who watch television are still going to find little information about the consequences of unprotected sexual practices among the many portrayals promoting sex."

She said that the findings hold implications for broadcasters, parents and health care providers.

Broadcasters should be encouraged to include more realistic depictions of sex in scripts and to portray consequences such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Parents should consider limiting their children’s access to programming with sexual content and spending more time watching programs with their children so they can explain the consequences of sex. Pediatricians should ask adolescents about their media use and discuss with them both contraception and the consequences that may accompany sexual activity.

Let’s briefly recap this–

Problem statement:

Adolescents who have high levels of exposure to television programs that contain sexual content are twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy over the following three years as their peers who watch few such shows.

Remedy:

1. Broadcasters should have more realistic depictions of sex

2. Parents should limit viewing (not eliminate but limit) the access of children to pornographic content

3. Parents should validate the viewing of pornography by watching it with their children

4. Pediatricians should remind children about the pornographic content of programs they view and then provide children with contraception.

The non-insane remedy is actually found in the problem statement – read it again if you missed it the first time. I’d love to get my hands on the underlying data of that study, the probability is high that the children who watch few such shows also come from families with a strong Christian background.

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