NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Parents may now have a more urgent reason to monitor what their children watch on television, a new study suggests.
Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston found that early teen sex may be linked to viewing adult content on
"Children learn from media, and when they watch media with sexual references and innuendos, our research suggests they are more likely to engage in sexual activity earlier in life."
-- David Bickham
television as children. The study tracked children from ages 6 to 18 and found that the sooner children began to view adult content on television programs and movies, the earlier they became sexually active during adolescence.
"Television and movies are among the leading sources of information about sex and relationships for adolescents," said Hernan Delgado, a specialist in adolescent and young adult medicine at Children's Hospital Boston and the study's lead author, in a news release on the study. "Our research shows that their sexual attitudes and expectations are influenced much earlier in life."
Dwayne Hastings, vice president of communications at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, agrees.
"It is a proven fact that the unchecked, prurient content on television and in movie theaters is a primary factor in the coarsening of the culture," Hastings said. "Advertisers are willing to shell out millions of dollars for television commercials because they are confident they can sway our behavior. We should not be surprised then to discover that what we watch on television shapes attitudes toward sexuality while perverting God's design."
Parents, not television actors and actresses, should be introducing -- in age appropriate steps -- an understanding of human sexuality as God intended, Hastings added.
The study's 754 participants -- 365 males and 389 females -- were tracked during two stages, first in childhood and again from ages 12 to 18. During both stages, researchers recorded television programs and movies watched, along with the time spent watching them, over two sample days. The program and movie titles determined what was considered adult content. In the second stage, researchers tracked the onset of sexual activity. Read More