In an article published in The Washington Post in 2006, it was revealed from a study by the American Association of Pediatrics [AAP] that teenagers who frequently watch television high in both implicit and explicit sexual content were more likely to get pregnant or impregnate somebody than their peers who had less exposure to such programs (Stein 2006). The study involved a group 2,000 teenagers between the age of 12 and 14, tracked within a period of three years. Each participant was interviewed by phone to gather information on their viewing habits which were later correlated to their sexual activities.
The results showed that about 700 of the respondents reported that they had been sexually active within that three-year period. Furthermore, the researchers also discovered that the percentage of getting pregnant or impregnating somebody within those who admitted of being sexually active was directly proportional to the amount of sexual content they watched on television. Lead researcher Anita Chandra added that the study was the first direct evidence that media had a significant role on teen pregnancies (Stein 2006). The article also reported that the rising number of teenage pregnancy after decades of being relatively low had sprung up discussions and debates as to its cause. Though television may not be wholly guilty of originating this crisis, it was not a coincidence, according to Chandra, that there was concurrently an increase in sexual content among television shows.
Media plays an important social role in the twenty-first century. In the fields of culture and instruction, media occupies a very prominent position in the society (Surette). With the steadily increasing consumption of media, its effect is becoming a concern for many, including media critics, policy makers, teachers, and parents. The study by AAP revives the controversies regarding media influence and prompts the question on how much of behavior is actually influenced by media. Because media has become ubiquitous in our age of information, the question becomes a critical one considering the role it plays on education. Unfortunately, as the study revealed, media seem to be a weak link in the proper education of the public. The author of this essay poses the argument that media content must be regulated concerning the misinformation it sends about sex because of its potential to miseducate the public.
Stein, Rob. 3 November 2006.“Study First to Link TV Sex to Real Teen Pregnancies.” The
Washington Post Company. Retrieved 7 January 2008 from
Surrette, Ray. “Media, Violence, Youth and Society.” Youth Violence and the Media 9 (1994): 370