- Posted November 4, 2008 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Married at a young age?
Sex on TV influencing teen pregnancy
By sheer luck, fate or the grace of God, I did not experience pregnancy as a teenager even though I was sexually active and not using protection.
I do however believe that our sex saturated media contributes to teen pregnancy and teen sexual activity. My parents were devout Catholics and it was understood that celebacy was the way to go. It was not through their shortcomings as parents that I became sexually active. But I was a latch-key kid who spent many afternoons watching old movies or anything else that came on TV. I was enchanted with the idea of romance and seduction. The two seemed to be one and the same. It seemed very grown-up and based on what I saw in movies and on TV, it was a natural extension of a "grown up relationship". And I was in complete, complete denial of possible consequences.
Years later, after raising two children and surviving a divorce, I can see in hindsight what an impact those images and storylines had on my perceptions and values at that age. I often wonder what different decisions I might have made if sexual relationships hadn't seemd to be the "end all" in my teen and early adult years.
I'm not a prude, not even conservative, but I think we have to face the fact that ours is a very, very sexually oriented culture. Sex is a reality in our lives, a natural and unavoidable drive, but parents do need to be concious of the impact sexual images and storylines can have on children. No one movie or picture is going influence them, but as the CNN report said, for every hour of TV a child is exposed to 10 sexual images or situations. A steady diet of this is bound to have an effect, especially when the consequences are always happy and the people involved appear to have no conscience.
I don't know what the solution is in our free society and the media is by no means the only factor in a teen's decision (or non-decision) making process. But it IS a factor. I know parents have a million things they are trying to monitor in their children's lives, bu this is an issue that needs attention.