Sex in Mass Media and its Sociological Effects on Teenagers
The average teenager watches television for about 23 hours a week. While watching television, he or she is exposed to many sexual innuendos in the shows that he or she watches. As parents and facilitators are trying to fight against sexual activity at a young age, everything they say is being contradicted by the programming the American youth is watching on a daily basis. How is the message of abstinence ever going to out way the message that sex is an acceptable activity for the younger generations? This is not something new to television for adolescents, but it is something that is getting progressively worse and more acceptable to the general public. Alarmingly, the reality shows that are on television today are infused with unsuitable sexual connotations. Even the commercials use sex as a way to sell their products, even for the simplest of items such as a soft drink. The most unsettling thing about the commercials is that they use sex to advertise for miscellaneous items, but people do not take advantage of them to try to educate the youth about abstinence or to explain contraception measures and protective measures.
Today's youth is spending more time in front of the television in one week than they spend in school. Out of all of the homes in America 98% (Nielsen Media Research, 1998) of them have a television set available for family use. L Goodstein and M. Connelly say that 66% of the children in these households have a television in their bedrooms. Amongst these children most of them watch about a half an hour more television a day than the children without. This is allowing them to watch more television and be exposed to materials children should not encounter. The American academy of pediatrics recommends no more than two hours per day of media exposure. They suggest the best way to lessen their media exposure is to watch television with your children and monitor what they watch. You always hear about how violence in the media has an affect on the children but what about the sexual activity and sexual innuendoes on the shows they are watching? Almost 20 years ago the average numbers of sexual acts on television per hour were 2.3 and ten years ago the average was 8.5 sexual acts per hour, which is an increase of over 200%(Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation)! In scenes between unmarried partners less than 9% come to the conclusion that having sex for any reason is inappropriate (Children Now and the Kaiser Family Foundation). More that half of the characters encourages premarital sexual relations. One out of every five scenes with premarital sex involves teenagers. 42% of the characters condone sex while only 25% criticized it (Advocates for Youth).
Today, reality TV is the big thing and there is just as much sexual activity in reality shows as regular televisions shows. The correlation of these show portray the lives of real people. If teens see real people have sexual relationships on these reality shows they do not see them as characters anymore. These are real people with real lives and this is how they live, so it must be alright to act this way. One of the worst of these reality TV shows is the "dating shows". One example of this is the Elimidate show, one girl or one guy will meet up with 4 people of the opposite sex. Couples hook up for one night and if all goes right the show ends up in a hot tub that in a lot of times will then lead to spending the night together. One then goes through a series of rounds to eliminate one person each round. The purpose of this show is to find someone they can "hook-up" with for the night. These shows are not meant...