A November article in Pediatrics Journal has some startling findings as it relates to watching TV and teen pregnancy. The headline in USA Today reads, “more tube time increases the likelihood” of unwanted pregnancies.
· The survey was conducted with 2000 teens and it found a direct link between sexual content on TV and the likelihood those teens that watched it would become pregnant.
· 23 popular shows were picked and teens were asked how much they view these shows which had everything from inferences of sex to full blown sexual intercourse on steamy cable shows.
· By age 16 teens who watched sexually charged sexual shows were twice as likely to be pregnant or father an out of wedlock baby that those who watched little television
· The statistics held true for those 16-20 with no effects due to income, race, and education.
How does this relate to previous studies?
· Previously studies linked watching sex on TV to earlier initiation of sexual behavior, but this was the first study as it related to pregnancy.
· Most teens watch 3 hours of TV a day, and the likelihood that they would be exposed to sexually charged TV is high.
· It’s not just one exposure, but also an accumulation in which teens might see this behavior as appropriate.
· Studies indicate that teens may believe sexual activity is the norm with few consequences implied in TV such as pregnancy or sexual transmitted diseases.
What can we do?
· Monitor the shows that are watched by our children and remember you are giving a message to your child if you allow them to watch sexually charged shows.
· Talk to your teens about sexually charged shows and discuss the reality of consequences for early sexual activity
· Be consistent about what we tell our children and what we condone in their own behaviors within our homes.