Music videos, movies, reality shows, beer ads, online porn, prostitutes in video games, sexy doctor shows. Sex is everywhere. And studies show that the more sexual content kids watch and listen to, the earlier they're likely to have sex themselves. In fact, teens report that their main source of information about sex, dating and sexual health comes from what they see and hear in the media. Public health experts say that the media can be an effective sex educator when it includes specific information on birth control methods and sexually transmitted diseases. But in 2005, out of 68% of TV shows that showed steamy sexual content, only 15% discussed risk and responsibility. And it's not just movies and TV: Music, video games, and the Internet are also filled with sexually explicit, often-degrading messages that can shape kids' attitudes about sex. Requirements
This report is based on a research project entitled ‘Young People, Media and Personal Relationships’, which was conducted by the authors between June 2001 and July 2003. The project was funded by the Advertising Standards Authority, the British Board of Film Classification, the BBC, the Broadcasting Standards Commission and the Independent Television Commission.
The project entailed a comprehensive review of the research literature (published separately by the BSC); an extensive qualitative study, involving interviews and other fieldwork activities with children and parents; and a questionnaire survey. In addition to this report, we are also publishing a book based on the research which gives a more detailed analysis of the qualitative study: Young People, Sex and the Media by David Buckingham and Sara Bragg (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003).
Yet this is very far from being a secure and guaranteed process; from this perspective, we might even suggest that the media play a greater role in disturbing gender and sexual identities than they do in confirming them.
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