RAND Research has linked teen pregnancy to watching a lot of television. The study shows that the more sex (on TV) a teenager watches, the more likely it is for that teenager to get pregnant or impregnate.
That makes sense, right?
Here’s my problem with it. Could it be that the kids who are watching more television are getting pregnant because he or she spends less time with communicating with his or her parents? Could it be that parents who are more likely to plop their kid in front of the TV are less likely to communicate regularly with their children?
I always feel slightly irritated by how studies such as this one get reported (I haven’t read the study firsthand) because I think the report becomes an obstacle at getting to the heart of what the real problem may be.
Is it in fact true that children that watch racy TV shows are more likely to have sex, or could it be that children who watch a lot of TV are less likely to spend that time communicating with his or her family?
If the goal is to lessen the number of teen pregnancies in America, I think figuring out why it’s happening should become our top priority. And quite frankly, I’m not convinced that the problem has to do with what they’re watching and instead has to do with why.
But my opinion still isn’t quite ripe. I’m open to debate.
VIOLENCE AND TV (A late addition to this post.)
I’m about to admit to something that probably seems contradictory to the top half of this post and state that I do believe that watching violent TV shows (and playing violent video games) can lead to violent behavior. Perhaps I’m naive where sex is concerned? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I do not believe that humans are inherently violent—that violence (or lack of compassion) is a learned behavior. I do believe that humans are inherently sexual, however.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel that parents can do much to keep teenagers from being curious about (even craving) sex. I do think we can control how educated our children are regarding the topic. I have always thought that when it comes time, I would talk openly to my son about sex. I am not nearly as liberal when it comes to violence, however.
Obviously, my opinion on the matter is still morphing.