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TV causes rise in teen pregnancy rates

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Unread 12.23.08, 04:43 PM
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TV causes rise in teen pregnancy rates



Dear Friend,

What are you kids watching on TV? If you're not sure, you should find out. A new study suggests that teen pregnancy rates are actually higher among teens who regularly watch shows with overtly sexual dialogue and risqué situations.

Now, you know how I feel about survey-based studies. There are plenty of other factors that come in to play with an issue like this, not the least of which is whether or not they've answered the questions truthfully.

But if this study has even a grain of truth, it vindicates the views of many who've bemoaned the increasing presence of in-your-face sexuality on television.

The study appeared in a recent issue of the medical journal Pediatrics, and is the first ever to link an issue like teen pregnancy to viewing habits. The research tracked over 2,000 teenagers (both boys and girls) between 2001 and 2004.

It turned out that pregnancy was TWICE as common among the teens who regularly watched the more sexual shows, compared with the kids who rarely watched them. Of the more than 2,000 participants, 58 of the girls had been pregnant by 2004 and 33 of the boys had gotten someone pregnant.

Lead author of the study, behavioral scientist Anita Chandra, says that television shows that portray sexual activity as an endless romp of fun with zero real-world consequences often prompt teens to become sexually active "before they're ready to make responsible and informed decisions."

While there are definitely a myriad of factors that play a role in a teen's decision to become sexually active (not the least of which would be their raging hormones), I think the study makes an important point. American culture has become increasingly blasé about sex, and accepting of casual sex. It's the norm, and it's reflected in the content of our TV programming.

The head of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy agrees that, "Media helps shape the social script for teenagers. Most parents know that. This is just good research to confirm that."

Most parents know what an uphill climb they face when raising a teenager. TV is yet another obstacle on the way to the top.

Turn off your TV before TV turns on your teens,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.


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Unread 12.23.08, 07:16 PM
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Don't let anyone watch TV under the age of 14. I stopped watching the boob tube now for over 5 years. I have saved lots of money not going to head adjustment specialists telling me that it is not real, its just TV. I now have time to help people instead of watching how stupid TV makes people look.
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