Friday, September 10, 2010

The Media's Harmful Messages to American Youth

A recent statement released by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) focuses on the harmful messages the media relays to youth regarding sex and teen pregnancy. The policy statement, “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media,” elaborates on the impact of sexually explicit content in teen media.
Teens spend an average of 7-plus hours a day with various forms of media, including music, movies, television, and periodicals. Additionally, 70% of teen television shows contain sexually explicit material. These numbers do not sit well with American pediatricians as the U.S. teen pregnancy rate is the highest in the Western Hemisphere. Though the media is not solely responsible for high teenage pregnancy rates, teens internalize messages from music, movies, television, and periodicals.
The statement offers several solutions to ameliorate the situation including:
  • Increasing dialogue between pediatricians and parents about media
  • Supervision of the media
  • The production of more socially responsible programming
  • More frequent commercials advertising birth control and condoms

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