According to the study conducted by the RAND Corporation, teen pregnancies are twice as likely among teens who watch a lot of TV with sexual dialogue and behavior than among those who have tamer viewing tastes. The study looked at 2,003 12 to 17 year old girls and boys across the country. The teens were asked about their T.V. viewing habits in a telephone interview conducted in 2001. They were then periodically re-interviewed–the last time in 2004–and asked about pregnancy. Teens who watched the raciest shows the most (Sex in the City was one of more than twenty shows asked about and recorded in the study) were twice as likely to become pregnant (or get a girl pregnant in the case of boys) than teens who “hardly ever saw them.” Friends and That ’70s Show were a couple other shows considered racy.
Having two daughters myself, I find this study interesting. First off, I’m no moral majorist–I have no beef with these types of shows being on television. However, I’m pretty adamant in my belief that lots of television watching turns people into idiots; so my wife and I pretty much discourage that as our childrens’ primary activity. A little T.V. here and there is fine. But sitting for hours like a zombie in front of the idiot box is simply self-destructive. Numerous studies come out every year showing the detriment of television watching for kids even beyond teen pregnancy, so why get them hooked early on?
According to the study, teen pregnancies were increased even when other factors were considered, including grades, family structure and parents’ education level, so don’t think it can’t happen to your kid. Have you watched television lately? Why would anybody want to watch the mundane lives of reality “stars” anyway? Rachel Zoe, indeed. My advice is get your child into art and reading right away. That’s what we do. And we have pets, so the girls have lots to keep them occupied–chasing, poking, talking, petting, screaming–much more fun than the garbage that’s on the stupid-box.