The research was done by the nonpartisan nonprofit Rand Corporation and tracked 700 subjects, age 12 through 17, for three years. Those who saw the most necking, flirting, touching, sexual conversation and sex scenes on TV during that period of time were twice as likely to become pregnant or make their partner pregnant than those who saw the least. (Specifically, 25 percent of those who watched such scenes most often were involved in a pregnancy, compared with 12 percent who watched the fewest sexual scenes.)The study’s authors conclude:
This is the first study to demonstrate a prospective link between exposure to sexual content on television and the experience of a pregnancy before the age of 20. Limiting adolescent exposure to the sexual content on television and balancing portrayals of sex in the media with information about possible negative consequences might reduce the risk of teen pregnancy. Parents may be able to mitigate the influence of this sexual content by viewing with their children and discussing these depictions of sex.The most important sentence is the last one. Don’t let another day pass without talking with your ‘tween or teen daughter about media depictions of sex—and how seldom they reflect the true, complex, mysterious reality of human sexuality. Dads and stepdads DO have a role in these conversations!!