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March 22, 2006

The Message from the Media

Just in case it wasn't obvious that thought precedes action...

Children exposed to sex in TV programmes, films, magazines and music are more likely to engage in sexual activity than those who are not, according to research out today.

There is a direct relationship between the amount of sexual content a child sees and their level of sexual activity or their intentions to have sex in the future, the study found.

Such media also has at least an equal influence on sexual behaviour as religion or a child's relationship with their parents and peers, the study said.

It concluded that the media is an "important source" of information about sex for teenagers who might not get advice elsewhere.

To some, this may be shocking. It shouldn't be.

Posted by Doug at March 22, 2006 11:41 PM

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Tracked on March 23, 2006 10:47 AM


"To some, this may be shocking. It shouldn't be."

I couldn't agree more. It shouldn't be at all shocking. In fact, I wonder who does find it shocking. I sense the presence of a strawman, but that would imply that there's some kind of argument in the works. Alas, you don't seem to be prepared to make any sort of policy recommendation whatsoever, so... oh, look— pie!

Posted by: s9 at March 23, 2006 07:04 PM

I think the straw man is suggesting that no one would find this shocking. "It's just a TV show" is the classic excuse when Hollywood crosses yet another cultural line. I remember when Dan Quayle noted that "Murphy Brown" was promoting unwed motherhood; the whole cast hit the talk show and entertainment show circuit saying that it was just a TV show. They didn't disagree with his premise; they only said that he shouldn't get so worked up about a fictional character.

They and all their cohorts should be shocked by this study.

"But we're just giving the people what they want" is another rallying cry that should be shot down by this study. Do they think that the public really wants their teens more sexually active? I doubt it.

Closer to the current pop culture, if TV has this influence, what about the fuller-immersion of video games? How many folks believe that kids who play Grand Theft Auto aren't at any sort of risk?

That you seem to think that everyone agrees on this point is countered by all those who defend Hollywood and the game industry with "it's just a TV show / movie / game". This study proves it's not, and there will be folks who are either shocked by this or will actively ignore it.

Posted by: Doug Payton at March 23, 2006 09:31 PM