Does the media feed teen sexual activity?


A new study is out that says that teenagers who tend to watch a greater amount of sexually-oriented television are also more likely to be involved in a pregnancy.  The study was from the RAND Corporation. Here are the nuts and bolts. The study involved 2,000 youths between 12-17 years of age between the years 2001-2004, surveying each three times. Of the 718, 25% of the students who tended to watch the most flirting or kissing or heard the most sexy talk were involved in a pregnancy; while only 12% of those who sampled less of that type of material were involved in a pregnancy.

"Our findings suggest that television may play a significant role in the high rates of teenage pregnancy in the United States," said RAND’s Anita Chandra, according to Reuters. "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."

A number of organizations have weighed in expressing concern about the findings of the study. It will come as no surprise to the readers of this publication that the Parents Television Council was one of them.

RBR/TVBR observation: Yes, by all means, let’s blame television (and other media). For starters, we’ll ignore the fact that 65% of the youths being exposed to this sort of material didn’t engage in intercourse at all, we suppose because it doesn’t fit the hypothesis that entertainment is to blame. As for the discrepancy between those who did, is it not possible that the youths most likely to be involved in a pregnancy are also most likely to seek out this sort of entertainment, and that instead of blaming television for their lifestyle, we should be hunting down the true cause of the lifestyle that feeds their taste in entertainment?