Programmers and producers increasingly impregnate television with sex, because they believe this has become the norm that the society aims and watches out for. This may be true; but it is the effect of progressively pushing the envelope and raising the bar in showing adult-themed content, and not the other way around, such as what is implied by the first statement. If music videos and TV shows today were viewed in the 60’s or even the 80’s, people would be appalled and certainly offended.
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It has become an arms race between television networks to portray sex on TV. More sexually provocative scenes are intentionally injected into their shows and music videos – the more sex-heavy, the better. The expanse of sexual content on television has increased rapidly during the 90’s, and even more so today. Essentially, there’s nothing more to be left for the imagination. From mere talking about sex to kissing, and touching, and even masturbation, full-frontal nudity, oral sex, both homosexual and heterosexual sex, and orgies, are graphic scenes that are available pronto on television today.
Sex sells. That is the basic premise of television and everyone behind it. Unfortunately, however, as much as they are successful in audio-visually stimulating their viewers, and catering sex to the public, they are for the most part irresponsible. It is true that sex is a part of life; but it is portrayed unifacially. The message they send out is the pleasure and fun in sex, but overlook its consequences. The hapless victims to this one-sided information are the teenagers.
It has been suggested that there is a relationship between sexual behaviour and attitudes of teenagers to exposure to sex on television, and the eventual reproductive health outcomes such as teen pregnancies for girls and the responsibility for the pregnancy for boys, not to mention the pertinence sexually transmitted infections. This ultimately results in a significant health and social issue.
A study by Chandra et al. showed that adolescents who belonged to the upper 10th percentile of teens in relation to the amount of exposure to sexual content on television were “twice as likely to experience pregnancy in the subsequent 3 years” when compared to those who belong in the lower 10th percentile of the study population. This study clearly showed a direct relationship between teenage pregnancy and the amount of exposure to sexual content on television (1047).
Another study by Collins et al. examined the relationship between exposure to sexual content on television and the sexual behaviours of adolescents. Results of the study showed that “adolescents who viewed more sexual content at baseline were more likely to initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced noncoital sexual activities during the subsequent year.” They went on to conclude that watching sexual content on television is directly linked to, and speeds up an adolescent’s introduction to sex (e280).
Television producers and programmers, however, have forged a flimsy rebuttal towards any resistance on this matter. They would simply tell anyone who protests to not watch their shows, which plainly demonstrates where their irresponsibility comes in. Everyone, including teenagers, have free and easy access to television. Furthermore, adolescent viewers of sexual content on television are prone to have erratic reactions to sexually graphic scenes, which may lead them to behave irresponsibly, and ultimately, bear teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Social and psychological effects of these results on adolescents cannot be overemphasized as well.
All responsibility therefore is left to the parents. Parents should set a limit on the amount of television their children are watching. Removing television sets from their children’s rooms may help with this task. Parents should pay attention to the shows their children are watching on television, and watch it with them as much as possible. This gives parents an opportunity to discuss sex with their children, explain the effects of irresponsible sexual behaviour, and stress the significance of abstinence and birth control for that matter. If you can’t stop what they show on television, you can always turn the TV off.