Of Course It Doesn’t Affect Me . . . or My Kids

Well, those Puritans over at CBS News are at it again, now publishing the story, “Media May Prompt Teen Sex” which alleges that a new study points to a link between what kids watch and their actual behavior when it comes to sex:

A new study shows that 12- to 14-year-olds exposed to the most sexual content in movies, music, magazines, and on television were 2.2 times more likely to have had sexual intercourse when re-interviewed two years later then their peers who had a lighter sexual media diet. . . .

The results showed that exposure to sexual content at ages 12-14 increased the risk of early teen sex among white teenagers even after taking into account other factors known to reduce the likelihood of teen sex, such as parental disapproval of teen sex and getting good grades. In fact, each increase in grouping of sexual content media exposure increased the risk of teen sex by 30 percent.

Come on, we all know that what we watch doesn’t affect our behavior, right? And that there’s no reason why any company would pay millions of dollars for ads, as if seeing something on TV would change our behavior about what we buy or wear or do?

Don’t worry, parents. There’s no need to feel guilty about your HBO subscription or about the many other ways that you allow your children to be exposed to immorality on the media. It’s just part of growing up, right? Your kids can handle it and so can you (plus, you’re family is different – the exception to the rule, more mature and educated). Don’t let those old out-of-touch “Brethren” tell you what to let into your home.


Author: Jeff Lindsay

8 thoughts on “Of Course It Doesn’t Affect Me . . . or My Kids

  1. Where is the parental restraint? I have serious doubts that about the causal effects of TV – on this effect or others. There is a lot more sexual content everywhere nowadays, especially online. The problem cannot be boiled down and the finger pointed at TV – way too simplistic of an approach, and ignorant of other changes in society. I hope that when my wife and I have kids, we will be able to shelter them from a lot of this stuff but I am a bit nervous about being able to do so…ugh.

  2. Aaron, the study was not discussing TV. It was discussing the media which means TV as well as movies, music videos, newspapers, books, magazines and the internet.

    You can’t keep your kids away from all of it without locking them up in Rapunzel’s tower. The best thing to do, imo, is to limit their exposure as much as you can (for example, my mom flatly refused to let us have MTV or watch rated R movies) and discuss, discuss, discuss! Your teens will act like they’re not listening and like they don’t care but they do. Read the same books they do and talk about the issues in them, both positive and negative. If they bring home a magazine you don’t approve of, tell them why. Spell it out clearly but don’t make it a line in the sand if you don’t have to.

    I don’t think shelting your kids from this stuff is the answer becasue then they’ll have no defences against it when they’re on their own. Sadly it will be a part of their world. Make sure they’re prepared for it.

  3. You can have a large input in your kids choices and should let them have some input into yours. I quit watching football, heck, more than ten years ago, and quit watching X-Files because my kids weren’t happy with either.

  4. cchrissyy:

    Yes, but I would venture to guess the vast majority of kids get years of it on TV or other media first.

    I think the biggest media influence would be while kids are trying to develop their personal opinion on the matter, especially if they don’t think their parents are approachable.

  5. Never had cable, probably never will.
    In 2008 (or 2009 – the gov keeps changing the schedule) all TV broadcasts are digital only. I’m not planing on buying any convertor.


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