Media and Adolescent Sexuality

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Abstract
The media has undergone a great transformation over the past 15-20 years and there are numerous sexually charged forms of media that target our younger generation. Part of the adolescent development is the formation of sexual beliefs and patterns of behavior. During this development period the adolescent is very impressionable and the information they receive from various means (parents, family members, friends, teachers, the community and the media, etc.) is what the adolescent uses to develop their personal sexual beliefs and personal patterns of behavior. With all of the media readily available, adolescents are exposed to sexual content at a much earlier age then previously. The impact of this exposure will be discovered and reported in this research paper.

The topic that I have researched is “Media and Adolescent Sexuality”. For the purpose of this paper “media” will entail television, music, magazines and the World Wide Web. I have seen a great transformation of media over the years and have noticed the numerous sexually charged forms of media that target our younger generation. Often these forms of media contain homosexual, bisexual and heterosexual references and sexually explicit references. With all of the media readily available, do the media have an impact on adolescent sexuality? Part of the adolescent development is the formation of sexual beliefs and patterns of behavior. During this development period the adolescent is very impressionable and the information received is what is used to develop their personal sexual beliefs and personal patterns of behavior. The information they receive may come from their parents, family members, teachers, the community, the media, etc. As a senior high school Sunday school teacher at my church, I often times lead discussions to provoke the youth to think critically about their experiences and the choices that they make. The discussion is always supported biblically, as the bible is the reference used to support why certain choices should be made or not. I find it interesting to hear from the youth during these discussions because they share exactly what they feel and also what they experience. These discussion are very open and leads many of them to ask questions that they may not feel comfortable asking their parents. Many of the discussions involve the various forms of media they watch and listen to and their thoughts of these forms of media based on the bible lessons we review. In taking a close look at the impact of television, the fist form of media to be discussed, I found interesting information documented from surveys which depict the time spent watching television by adolescents. “In the United States, young people spend 6 to 7 hours each day on average with some form of media. A national survey in 1999 found that one third of young children (2 to 7 years old) and two thirds of older children and adolescents (8 to 18 years old) have a television in their own bedroom. Many of those televisions also are hooked up to cable and a Videocassette Recorder (VCR)” (Roberts, 2000). The time reported, on the survey, that adolescents watch television is high. This amount of time watching television exposes these adolescents to age inappropriate content. Also, with cable television being a constant and always available, this too increases the exposure to age inappropriate content. There are parents who do not monitor what their children watch on television, thus many parents are unaware of the potential harm exposed to their children. Even the channels that are supposed to be age appropriate, such as Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel contain questionable content. Both Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel have programs that contain dating and kissing scenes. Typically young adolescents (8-12) are not interested in the opposite sex but still consider them gross or view them as possessing “coodees” or germs. The television programs today are...
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