Study Finds Teens Who Watch Sex-Laden TV More Likely to Become Pregnant or Cause Pregnancy



November 4, 2008

By Tim Waggoner

WASHINGTON, November 3, 2008 ( – A new study confirmed that teenagers who watch sexually charged television shows have a far greater chance of getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant, reports the Washington Post.

The study, which was published today in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics surveyed 2000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, from 2001 to 2004.

The researchers performed an analysis on 23 shows in 2000-2001 to determine the level of sexual content present in the most popular shows, including “Sex and the City,” “Friends” and “That ’70s Show,” among a variety of other programs.

Researchers found that 25 percent of adolescents who watched shows containing the most flirting, kissing, touching and references and/or depictions of sexual situations became pregnant or got someone else pregnant, while only 12 percent of teens who watched shows with the least amount of sexual material were involved in a pregnancy.

“Watching this kind of sexual content on television is a powerful factor in increasing the likelihood of a teen pregnancy,” said lead researcher Anita Chandra. “We found a strong association.”

Chandra also said that it did not matter how many shows the teens watched per week, but rather how much sexual material was present in the show.

“It could be a child wasn’t watching that much TV per week but was watching shows that got a pretty high rating on sexual content, or it could be a kid who was watching a lot of hours but on average was getting just moderate amounts of sexual content from each show,” Chandra said.

These findings have spurred her research team to send a warning to parents regarding what their children are watching on the television.

This should not be new news for parents, however, as past studies have linked shows with sexual content to kids becoming sexually active earlier, as well as sexually suggestive music videos to an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases.

Several social and cultural experts have responded to these significant findings.

“This is very significant,” said Melissa Henson of the Parents Television Council, a watchdog group. “It gives us plenty of reason for concern.”

Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association commented on the need to combat an over-sexualized society with abstinence education.

“We have a highly sexualized culture that glamorizes sex,” said Huber.  “We really need to encourage schools to make abstinence-centered programs a priority.”

See the full Washington Post article here:

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