New Study Links TV Content and Sexual Activity of Teens
by Erin Curry

Adolescents who watch a significant amount of television with sexual content are twice as likely to engage in sexual intercourse as those who watch little of such programming, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

The study also found that teens who watch lots of sex on TV are more likely to initiate sexual activities other than intercourse, such as "making out" and oral sex, a September 7 news release by the RAND Corporation, which conducted the study, said.

"This is the strongest evidence yet that the sexual content of television programs encourages adolescents to initiate sexual intercourse and other sexual activities," Rebecca Collins, a RAND psychologist who headed the study, said in the release. "The impact of television viewing is so large that even a moderate shift in the sexual content of adolescent TV watching could have a substantial effect on their sexual behavior."

Collins said that whether a television show presents people only talking about sex or whether it actually portrays the sexual activity made little difference in the study. Teens were influenced equally by both forms of sexual content.

"Both affect adolescents' perceptions of what is normal sexual behavior and propels their own sexual behavior," she said.

Studies indicate that about two-thirds of television entertainment programs include sexual content, ranging from jokes and innuendo to intercourse and other behaviors, RAND noted.

RAND also said adolescents were less likely to initiate sexual intercourse if their parents monitored their activities, if their parents had more education, if they lived with both parents, if their parents did not approve of them having sexual relations, if they were religious, and if they were in good mental health.

Because of the importance of parental guidance, RAND researchers recommend that parents watch television shows with their children and talk about any sexual content that appears — even the jokes — the news release said.

"Talking about television can give parents a chance to express their own views about sex, and viewing shows with their kids will also help parents identify any programs they want to designate as off-limits," Collins advised.



Model Leadership

Southern Baptist leaders from around the Convention extended greetings and congratulations to Dr. David Gill (center), August 24, to commemorate his leadership and celebrate strong ties between the Southern Baptist Convention and the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in North America. About 100 well-wishers gathered for dinner and then met at Woodmont Baptist Church for a celebration service.

Gill's leadership includes serving as pastor of Concord Korean Baptist Church in Martinez, California, former first vice president of the California Southern Baptist Convention, immediate past president of the Council of Korean Southern Baptist Churches in North America, and now as second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Pictured with Gill are James T. Draper Jr., president of LifeWay Christian Resources and Jim Freedman, executive director of Nashville Baptist Association.

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