Every American understands that media is changing our culture. Children and teens today are growing up in a vastly different environment than their parents did 30 years ago.

But that culture shift is now proven to alter the way youth and teens live out their lives. In a recent study, Dartmouth researchers found that teens’ exposure t0 increased sexual content in movies is encouraging sexual behavior at an earlier age.

The Heritage Foundation’s Christine Kim explains the results:

The researchers found that for each additional hour of exposure to sexual content in movies, the risk of initiating sex at each age increased more than five times. The increased risk between teens with high exposure and those with low exposure widened significantly during the later teenage years.

The study additionally revealed:

  • Exposure to sexually explicit content increases the likelihood of risky sexual behavior, including the overall number of sexual partners.
  • Having a TV in the teen’s bedroom leads to increased sexual behavior
  • Having an intact home reduces risk, supporting years of research about the importance of an intact family structure.

Our culture is changing, which is why parents should be involved in their children’s lives and monitor their media consumption.

Additional research aggregated by The Heritage Foundation’s FamilyFacts.org shows:

  • Adolescents from intact family structures tend to delay sexual initiation until a significantly older age than their peers from non-intact family backgrounds.
  • Adolescents from intact families are less likely to have ever had sexual intercourse, have had on average fewer sexual partners, are less likely to report a sexually transmitted disease, and are less likely to have ever experienced a pregnancy or live birth when compared to their peers from non-intact families.
  • The effects of family structure on all adolescent sexual outcomes other than sexual debut tend to operate primarily through the delay in sexual debut experienced by adolescents from intact families.

How do you see media changing today’s youth? 

Comments (12)

Margaret Go - August 10, 2012

Teens also are less likely to seek marriage and more likely to live with the opposite gender before marriage. Deviant life styles are becoming acceptable as is the idea that children are optional and on the same level as having pets. They are encouraged avoid any pain or discomfort; to seek their own pleasure satisfaction rather than serve others. They are seeing life as something you do now. There is no spiritual or higher purpose.

Jeff Yetter - August 10, 2012

In a totally negative way. Children are inclined by nature and nurture to follow adult models and practice. When exposed to adult situations and mores either directly or vicariously, they assume a de facto permission to model accordingly. THIS is the way a signifigant proportion of juveniles model. Just because some creep producer is able to score bigtime financially FAR from justifies the porn-ification of public media.

Sandy - August 10, 2012

I see a strong anti- capitalist theme in many children’s movies these days. There is also a strong “green theme” that seems to be present. I have basically stopped going to movies with my family.

judy - August 10, 2012

As a mother, grandmother and retired Early Childhood educator of 38 years I have been very concerned for many years about TV, movies, magazines and the messages they convey to our youth. Parents need to be very vigilant particularly with the exposure children have available to them through technology these days.

Rekonen - August 10, 2012

With the benefit of hindsight it’s apparent this has been done by design.

Roy Callahan - August 10, 2012

Why does it take a study to figure prove what everybody knows? That’s not SCIENCE; that’s COMMON SENSE.

Roy Callahan - August 10, 2012

Why does it take a study to figure out what everybody already knows. The study isn’t SCIENCE; the result is COMMON SENSE.

Sonie - August 11, 2012

Absolutely, we are failing our families and encouraging “anything goes”. Take a look at the barrage of shows on cable TV….Modern Family and A New Kind of Normal due out soon. We are seeing a radical left movement to disparage solid family, Christian values. We plan to pull the plug on cable soon. When others stand up to what is being promoted, maybe then they will listen. When money loss is the result, they will!!

karl - August 11, 2012

Hollywood produced violent trash for the last 25 years. Dead people filled every screen from beginning to the end. Sex is not the problem, they pick this better from ther internet. Better sex education is needed and eliminate the sick interference from religious organisations. Eliminate these senseles reasearch groups.

K. Hunter - August 12, 2012

It seems clear to me that the primary fault with media’s influence on childen comes via the parents unwillingness to teach their children the basics of fiction versus reality. The fact that too many parents use media, whether cartoons or movies, to replace parental involvement in childrearing is at the root of the current complaints. If a parent is not willing to parent then it should come as no suprise that children adopt the moral instructions of their most constant companion.

Lincoln Craighead - August 12, 2012

There is violence in every ad campaign aimed at youth/young
adults.And we wonder why gun violence is epidemic!

Dan - August 17, 2012

A few snowflakes are insignificant. Put lots of them together in a focused area and they can cripple a city. A continual barrage of explicit and implicit sexual content through multiple facets of the media for many years of exposure for our youth seems to be a lot of snowflakes to me!

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