Media & Adventist Benefits- Sex on TV linked to teen pregnancies

“Teenagers who watch a lot of television featuring flirting, necking, discussion of sex and sex scenes are much more likely than their peers to get pregnant or get a partner pregnant, according to the first study to directly link steamy programming to teen pregnancy.

“”Sexual content on television has doubled in the last few years, especially during the period of our research,” said Chandra, a researcher at the nonpartisan Rand Corp.

“Studies have found a link between watching television shows with sexual content and becoming sexually active earlier, and between sexually explicit music videos and an increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases. And many studies have shown that TV violence seems to make children more aggressive. But the new research is the first to show an association between TV watching and pregnancy among teens.” Study First to Link TV Sex To Real Teen Pregnancies The Washington Post, November 3, 2008

“The study, released Monday and published in the November edition of the journal Pediatrics, found that teens exposed to high levels of sexual content on television were twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy in the following three years as teens with limited exposure.” Study: Sex on TV linked to teen pregnancies MSNBC November 3, 2008

“Sitcoms like “Friends” contain plenty of positive messages about consequence-free sex, note the authors of a new study that links teenagers’ exposure to sexual content on TV to teen pregnancies.

“Previous RAND research also showed that teens who watch a lot of television with sexual content are more likely to initiate intercourse the following year.” Study links sexual content on TV to teen pregnancy CNN Health November 3, 2008

These recent research findings explain why Adventists received this strong inspired appeal more than 130 years ago to be careful what we look at, allow into our homes and families and let our imagination dwell on. (From Chapter 54 “Sensuality in the Young” in Testimonies for the Church, volume 2)

“Many of the young are eager for books [compare TV shows and movies today].  They read everything they can obtain. Exciting love stories and impure pictures have a corrupting influence. Novels  are eagerly perused by many, and, as the result, their imagination becomes defiled. In the cars, photographs of females in a state of nudity are frequently circulated for sale. …This is an age when corruption is teeming everywhere. The lust of the eye and corrupt passions are aroused by beholding and by reading. The heart is corrupted through the imagination. The mind takes pleasure in contemplating scenes which awaken the lower and baser passions. These vile images, seen through defiled imagination, corrupt the morals and prepare the deluded, infatuated beings to give loose rein to lustful passions. Then follow sins and crimes which drag beings formed in the image of God down to a level with the beasts, sinking them at last in perdition. Avoid reading and seeing things which will suggest impure thoughts. Cultivate the moral and intellectual powers. Let not these noble powers become enfeebled and perverted by much reading of even storybooks. I know of strong minds that have been unbalanced and partially benumbed, or paralyzed, by intemperance in reading.

I appeal to parents to control the reading [and viewing habits today] of their children. Much reading does them only harm. Especially do not permit upon your tables the magazines and newspapers wherein are found love stories. It is impossible for the youth to possess a healthy tone of mind and correct religious principles unless they enjoy the perusal of the word of God. This book contains the most interesting history, points out the way of salvation through Christ, and is their guide to a higher and better life. They would all pronounce it the most interesting book they ever perused, if their imagination had not become perverted by exciting stories of a fictitious character. You who are looking for your Lord to come the second time to change your mortal bodies, and to fashion them like unto His most glorious body, must come up upon a higher plane of action. You must work from a higher standpoint than you have hitherto done, or you will not be of that number who will receive the finishing touch of immortality.” {2T page 410}

Seventh-day Adventists have been blessed with a wealth of counsel showing the important role of parenting in what children are exposed to (See for example, Adventist Home and Child Guidance), how young people can make good decisions and call on the resources of heaven for self-control (See for example Letters to Young Lovers and Messages to Young People) and how what we are exposed to impacts our thought patterns (See for example Mind, Personality and Character, vol. 1 & 2).

These make great Christmas gifts. If there’s no time to read one of these books it may be a good time to go on a three week media fast. Teens will make their own decisions, but if we can guide them towards inspired counsel and away from media that doesn’t pass the Philippians 4:8 standard, we just might be able to save them from a lot of pain and heartache in life.

1 Comment

Filed under Family, Health & Temperance, Media & Adventist Benefits, Sexual Issues, Youth Ministry