By Lindsey Tanner - Associated Press
“Sex and the City,” anyone? That was one of the shows used in the research.
Previous research by some of the same scientists had already found that watching lots of sex on TV can influence teens to have sex at earlier ages.
Among girls, 58 became pregnant during the follow-up, and among boys, 33 said they had gotten a girl pregnant.
Pregnancies were twice as common among those who said they watched such shows regularly, compared with teens who said they hardly ever saw them.
But the study didn't adequately address other issues, such as self-esteem, family values and income, contends Elizabeth Schroeder, executive director of Answer, a teen sex education program based at Rutgers University.
But Bill Albert, chief program officer at the nonprofit National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, praised the study and said it “catches up with common sense.”
“Media helps shape the social script for teenagers. Most parents know that. This is just good research to confirm that,” Albert said.
And Albert noted the downward trend occurred as TV shows were becoming more sexualized, confirming “it's not the only influence.”
He said the message to parents is to talk to kids about sex long before they are teens. Parents also should be watching what their kids watch and helping filter messages that sex-filled shows are sending.