SEX!! A three-lettered word that catches our children’s eye everyday. When televisions turn on society becomes bombarded with sexual images. Children and teenagers make up the majority of television watchers. Sexual images and content on TV causes a rise in teens and children having sex. When they see sex on TV it influences them to think it is the right thing to do. They see celebrities on TV and want to be like them. They send a message that says sex can be ok, so they go out and do it. These examples on television show why American teens start to have sex earlier and earlier.
When Americans watch primetime TV they should expect the likelihood of seeing sexual images or content in a show or commercial. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently did a study on “sexual content” on primetime TV shows. The shows portraying sexual content rose from 56% three years ago to 68% in the 1999-2000 television season. This study also showed that sitcoms have a big source of sex on television. Eighty-four percent of sitcoms now have some sort of sexual talk or acts in them. According to this study three-quarters of primetime programs show sexual content. It was only two-thirds 3 years ago. This study shows the rise in sexual activity on television in the past years and that it continues to steadily increase.
This rise in sexual content on television effects the youth of America. Early sexual activity can be caused by many factors but the media plays a significant role. Adolescences are starting to have sex at a much earlier age. According to the recent data, 61% of all high school seniors have had sexual intercourse, and about half are sexually active. Twenty-one percent of these teenagers have had four or more partners. This is seen among other developed countries but the pattern is mostly seen among American teenagers.
American teenagers wouldn’t have such high STD rates or having sex at an early age if it wasn’t for the media influencing them. Everyday when a teenager turns on the television set they will see something that has sexual content in it. The media does this through advertising and through television shows that attract teenagers. If America would try to censor sexual content on television more, then not as many teenagers would be getting pregnant or having STD’s.
Most TV shows made for teenagers show sexual content. Shows on the WB like Dawson’s Creek and Felicity are made for teens and most of their dialogue has to do with sex. When Dawson’s Creek comes on a warning comes up saying that this program is for our teenage and adult audiences. They are telling the teenage viewers that this show is for them. A show that recently appeared about two of the characters on the show, Joey and Pacey. The couple had been together for a while and they decided that it was time to make the next step in their relationship, this step meaning having sex. There was no consequence or guilt after they had sex showing American teenagers that it is ok to have sex with your boyfriend or girlfriend if you have known them for a while. These and other shows are sending this same message to kids.
Felicity is also another show that teenagers watch. This show is more geared toward college kids but a lot of high school kids watch it. This show shows a lot of people sleeping with people they hardly know, sending out the message that promiscuous sex is ok. Felicity does promote safe sex in their shows. A scene in a show shows Felicity about to have sex with her boyfriend and she reaches for a condom from her nightstand. This is a good thing but it also sending the wrong message that sex is fine as long protection is used. Our kids see this on television everyday and the sexual moral of our country is decreasing one viewer at a time.
Some kids say that they television doesn’t influence them to have sex. They claim they have sex out of curiosity or because everyone else does it. Peers have a lot of influence on children and that is one reason why kids might start to have sex earlier. They may hear about someone doing it so they want to try it. Sex can be a peer pressure thing just like alcohol and drugs. When everyone else does it then teenagers think it is ok, so they go out and do it.
Peers might influence teenagers having sex early, but if television didn’t put sex in teenagers’ heads then there wouldn’t be any peer pressure to have sex. When sex is portrayed on television they do not show the consequences that might follow having sex like STD’s or pregnancy. Television just shows the gratification of sex and how happy the people seem when they get the sex. This sends the wrong message to our children. If American TV would cut down on so much sex on TV then maybe we wouldn’t see so many teenage girls sitting in high school with there stomachs hanging over the top of their desk. Maybe if they cut down on sex on TV that you wouldn’t see so many teenagers getting treated for STD’s. Television is a great source of entertainment, but it makes the sexual morale in this country very low and takes away our children’s youth.