Study is First to Link TV Sex to Teen Parenthood

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, November 3, 2008

Study is First to Link TV Sex to Teen Parenthood

An interesting study that indicates what teens watch makes a difference in their sexual behaviors. The study focused on the amount of sexual content teens watch on television and made the connection those who watch more have a significantly increased likelihood of pregnancy (or fathering a baby.)

Could the amount of sex teens see on TV predict whether they'll become a teen mother or father? A study in today's Pediatrics says it's a distinct possibility.

The study is the first to draw a direct link between sexual content on TV and the likelihood that teens who watch it will become parents. Researchers examined survey data from about 2,000 teens. They plucked out 23 popular shows and asked how much teens watched each. They coded the replies to established indicators of sexual content for each show — everything from nudge-nudge jokes on network sitcoms to full-blown intercourse on steamy cable dramas.

What they found: By age 16, teens who watched a lot of sexually charged TV were more than twice as likely to be pregnant or father an out-of-wedlock baby as teens who watched very little: 12% vs. 5%. The gap holds steady through age 20. Researchers controlled for parents' race, income and education and teens' total TV time.

Source: USA Today

If you are looking for information to help your kids develop God-honoring sexuality, read Jim Burns' new book Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality. Jim also has books targeted directly for pre-teens and tweens, The Purity Code, and for teens, Accept Nothing Less.

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