The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, September 7, 2004 - 7A
CHICAGO P) - Children who
watched a lot of TV with sexual content
were about twice as likely to start hav-
ing intercourse during the subsequent
year as those with little exposure to tele-
vised sex, researchers found.
High exposure to TV sex among
those age 12 to 17 also was linked with
a lower but still substantially increased
risk of starting non-intercourse behav-
ior, including passionate kissing and
oral sex, the researchers found. Even
shows that only refer to sex but don't
depict it had the effect, they found.
"Exposure to TV that included only
talk about sex was associated with
the same risks as exposure to TV that
depicted sexual behavior," Rand Corp.
behavioral scientist Rebecca Collins
and colleagues said in a statement.
From innuendoes to depictions of
intercourse, sex is pervasive on TV,
present in about two-thirds of all shows
other than news and sports, and teens
watch an average of three hours of
television daily, previous research has
TV thus "may create the illusion that
sex is more central to daily life than it
truly is and may promote sexual initia-
ays sex on TV
BE ATS FOR THE STREETS
tion as a result," the researchers said.
"When they're watching it for three
hours a day, it really does become their
social world. Those characters are peo-
ple they identify with and pay attention
to," said Collins, the lead researcher.
TV sex rarely deals with negative
aspects most teens aren't prepared to
deal with, including unwanted pregnan-
cy, AIDS and other sexually transmitted
diseases, she said.
That "sends kids the message that
everybody's having sex and nobody's
thinking about responsibility and noth-
ing bad ever happens," Collins said.
"You don't see the fade to black, the
couple has sex, and the next morning
says, 'You gave me an STD.' "
The study appears in September's
issue of the journal Pediatrics, released
The results are based on nationwide
telephone surveys of 1,792 adolescents
queried in 2001 and again in 2002.
Parental consent for participation was
obtained before the interviews.
The researchers devised a list of 23
popular shows that on average featured
abundant sexual content. Programs the
researchers considered high in sexual
content included "That '70s Show,"
"Friends" and "Sex and the City" - all
popular with teens.
Participants then were asked how
often they watched those 23 shows. They
also were asked whether they engaged
in various sexual activities; results were
compared from the two surveys.
The number of teens who reported
having had intercourse climbed from
about 18 percent to 36 percent. The
number who'd had sexual experiences
other than intercourse climbed from 62
percent to 75 percent, Collins said.
Factors that increased the likelihood
of having intercourse included being
older, having older friends and getting
poor grades. But even considering those
factors, television still remained a strong
influence, the researchers said.
Many youngsters start having sex
during their teen years, and previous
data show that 46 percent of high school
students say they've had intercourse.
But many say they wish waited longer
to have sex, the researchers said.
Street performer Nahru Lampkin protests as an Ann Arbor Police officer Inquires if he has the necessary per-
mits. Lampkin said he has been performing for students on their way to Michigan Stadium for 16 years.
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