Jun 25, 2018 in Exploratory

Media and Teen Pregnancy


There is increased accessibility by teenagers to media content all over the world and acts a learning tool for their sexuality which directly affects their behaviors socially and sexually. Acquisition of knowledge through the media and has become a place for development that regards to any discussions of sexual topics that parents and schools do not get to teach the teenagers. In USA, seven to eight hours are spent by teenagers on one form of media or another by teenagers. Affirmation of displays and sexual content are on the rise and frequency of use of the internet has led to an increase in explicit content which is mostly available.   

Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy

Brown (2006) states that teenagers being sexually active and get to have television to watch at their disposal get to think and want to act and do what is on air as they believe that society would want them to do this. Television gives negative ideas that teenagers get to think and do things and activities involving sex that lead to teenage sex and pregnancies. From studies one learns from their communities and surroundings through the media about sex and sexuality which makes them want to be in the shoes of celebrities on air.

Brown & Klein (2002) came up with the idea that “a number of surveys have found that exposure to sexually suggestive materials has high influence on premarital sexual permissiveness (PSP) among youth” (Brown & Klein, 2002). Strouse in his research found that less of an hour was spent on watching MTV by seventh-and ninth-graders would most likely have sex than teenagers who had not watched MTV at all. This was done as an experimental study. Similarly, (Chandra et al., 2008) found that college students who regularly watched music videos showed more interest toward premarital sex than students that rarely did. It is about 1program out of 10 aired programs on the television that actually try to bother mentioning what contraceptive usage or all the outcomes that may come out and unintended pregnancies form unprotected sex.

Teenagers who were asked (16-17 years old) put media last on their list, parents second and their friends first. When one refers to the cultivation theory, being a powerful storyteller in the world, television as a whole repeats facts and trends of relationships that define and set the social order. The cultivation hypothesis, suggests a steady number of hours spent on television, and the over time, is a kind of gravity that pulls toward a center that is center (Chandra et al., 2008). The relationship between studies by the selection, how they are interpreted, and  their actual application shows a possible phenomenon that awareness of beliefs, can be greatly influenced and affected by any forms of sexual content that is displayed and portrayed in the media.

The Influence of Electronic Entertainment on American Teen Sexual Culture: A Reason to Revive Rhetoric in English Teacher Education Programs

Hart (2007) noted that there has been a continuous rise in number of teen pregnancy cases that come because of the influence of the mass media content depicting casual teenage sex with no consequences. Sex is a considerable part of television content. There is a number of program categories whereby unmarried couples who are heterosexual tend to engage in sexual activities for example intercourse in a relatively frequent manner which is four to around eight times than a scenario where married men are applied to and also married women. Women rarely get pregnant even though a number of contraceptives which are either to be used by these women or referred to are prescribed. Men and women quite rarely contract any of the sexually transmitted diseases in these shows (Hart, 2007). A quarter of the more actively sexual teenagers annually contract a sexually transmitted disease due to ignorance while young females are subjected to involuntary sex during their first sexual act or activity that is usually with an older boys.

Healthcare providers like doctors are being encouraged to ask their patients the amount of time they dedicate to entertainment through the media. This is because of its potential association with unhealthy behaviors. Parents are expected to educate the teenagers on matters that involve sex and its contents to their children. They advocate for abstinence or even resort to promoting condom use when need be but teenagers relate more to the influence from the media they are exposed to. There is a lack of responsibility as the media displays sexual content without giving information about the health risks involved when indulging in such kinds of activities.

Apart from influencing the sexual behavior of the youth, the media may also negatively affect their mental and physical well-being. Studies have suggested that the media displays unrealistic images that may in actual sense cause low self-esteem among the youth (Hart, 2007). The teenagers especially the young females in an attempt to gain the type of body size they see in the media develop unhealthy eating behaviors. Although the youth draw their influence from family and friends they are also adapt to the visual images that show the body types that are desirable, the type of clothing that is in fashion and other cultural norms.

Television, movies, and music videos viewed by adolescents do not shy away from sexuality, yet their depictions of sexuality are often unrealistic, portraying the glamorous side of sexuality but ignoring the possible consequences: unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Since television may be the only source of information about sexuality, birth control, and sexually transmitted diseases, for many teenagers, the consequences of such unrealistic portrayals can be extremely negative.

In a study of adolescent girls, it was found that girls who got pregnant were twice as many as the girls that did not get pregnant because of the influence by their favorite television character that would not use birth control if involved in a pre-marital sexual relationship. This leads to a larger number of unwanted pregnancies among the teenagers (Brown & Klein, 2002). Given the strength and frequency of television and movies’ impact on adolescents, it is difficult to imagine what types of messages could work as an effective counterbalance. As of yet, few media campaigns have tried to affect adolescent health behaviors. Even fewer campaigns have been evaluated to determine the degree to which media positively influences adolescent sexual behavior. Teenage pregnancy prevention campaigns have yet to be evaluated.                                                        

The Influence of Electronic Entertainment on American Teen Sexual Culture

The main objective of finding out whether youth exposure to sexual content on television had an effect on their sexual attitudes and behavior whose results would influence reproductive health. The authors had no previous knowledge on such a research tying exposure of youths to television and teen pregnancy before then. Baseline is that teenagers who are exposed to sex that is viewed directly from television alsopredicted whether teens experienced a pregnancy between the2001first baseline survey and also at the same time the second that was done in 2004 which was a follow-up survey which was second (Chandra et al., 2008).

It was noted that there were racial and ethnic differences in the rates of early pregnancy and recognition of television being one of the many factors may contribute to boys’ responsibility for pregnancy and experiences of pregnancies to girls. Hispanic/Latino (137.9 pregnancies per 1000 teens 15–19years of age in 2000) and black female (64.8 pregnancies per 1000 teens15-19 years of age) teens have significantly higher rates thanwhite teens (27.5 pregnancies per the numbered 1000 teens who were aged between 15–19 yearsof age) (Chandra et al., 2008).

They used several methods to collect data including: Sample Recruitment where the data for the study were from a national longitudinal surveyof youths 12 to 17 years old at baseline. Baseline Weights they created nonresponsive weights with a regression equationand applied the weights,we created post stratification weights. The nonresponsive and post stratificationweights were combined to form the final baseline weights. Attrition and longitudinal weights method was also used, where a sum total of 2003 actual teenagers who participated and completed all the baseline interviews.73% of the given and acquired sample which is (n = 1461), was in the end retainedat time 3. There was regression modeling of the attrition that was done on themultivariate logistic from the actual baseline to time 3 revealed some selective attrition (Hart, 2007).

Sample Characteristics used in eligibility in the analyses, participantswere required to have known sexual initiation status at time3 (1315 of 1461 participants), to have engaged in sexual intercourseby time 3 (744 of 1315 participants), and to have complete informationon pregnancy history at time 3 (718 of 744 participants).There was an approximate of 14% (n = 91; in the 58 girls with the number of boys being 33) analyzation that was done on the sample which had experienced or known that they were responsible for the actual pregnancytaking place after the  baseline. Among those who had experienced such a pregnancy,the average time since the most recent pregnancy was 1.2 years.

There were a range of instrument that were used survey calculate the amount of television viewing the teenagers sexual knowledge combined with their attitudes,and also in the behavior. The set of all the main and large demographic and psychosocialvariables are known to predict television viewing habits or sexualbehavior. The main in measures of the article was pregnancy, exposure to watching and viewing the sexual content that is put on television, total television viewing, covariates and missing data imputation (Hart, 2007). Data was analyzed and it was found out that simpleassociation between all the sexual content exposed through mass media and pregnancy waspositive but not statistically significant. This type of research is represented as to an important step in the total understandingof the relationship that exists between the way the teenager is exposed to content that is really sexual which is displayed in the media and reproductive health of a sexual adolescent. The results gave the indications that due to frequent exposure media content that is on television sets the pace forearly pregnancy.

Teens, Sex and the Media

Brown’s, (2006) research that was carried out with the main objective of finding out how teens, sex, exposure to content that is sexual in nature on the media had an effect on their sexual attitudes and behavior. Past studies have found that negative attitudes can be brought about by television viewing as there is a relationship between early initiations to sexual intercourse and watching high numbers of television programs.

According to a survey done, three out of about 4 teens said the fact that shows on television and the movies tend make them feel normal to have sex even when they are teenagers. Professionals of an entertainment company of whom Sixty -three percent (63%) were surveyed had the feeling that teenagers decision to have sex is highly influenced what is portrayed on television on sex and references to sex (Brown, 2006). More than the 3 out of almost all 4 Americans boldly said that programs shown on TV highly encourage the irresponsibility that could actually lead to pregnancy in a large number of teenagers.

Teen sexual activity in 1999, found out that 52% of boys and 48% of girls which was 50% of high school students had already had sexual intercourse. Older teenagers were the more assumed likely to engage in sex: 27% of 15-year-old teenage boys and 25% of 15-year-old teenage girls had already had intercourse and whereas 85% of 19-year-old boys who were teenagers and 77% of 19-year-old girls have (Brown, 2006). The median age at first intercourse is 16.5 years.  While most of the teenagers who were experienced in sex had almost the same age with their partners, the other quarter of all the sexually active teenagers who were male and aged 16 years had reported that they had female partners who were 14years or younger during the last year, and 11% of 19-year-old males had a female partner 15 or younger. A percent of Twenty-nine (29%) of all the sexually active teenage girls who were15- to 17-year-old had partners who were three to five  or more years older, while 7% were of six or more the years of the teenagers years older (Brown, 2006).

In the year 1999, there was a 20 year low on pregnancy rates which were the largest drop among the teenagers. Contraceptive use was cited responsible for the drop by the leveling rate of the Center for Disease Control. Nearly half (42%) teenage high school students in a survey admitted to having unprotected sex even though they say that a condom or contraceptive should be used every time one had sex.

According to Chandra et al., (2008), the American Psychological Association estimates to 14,000 sexual references and innuendoes per year on television which are exposed to teenagers. A 2001 study of prime-time television by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 75% of programs include sexual content, and almost six scenes per hour (5.8) contained sexual talk and/or behavior.

Magazines in print display a lot of physical imagery as well. Many of the magazines have editorials and adverts that have features of seductive models. The study says that, 40% of female models were considered 'provocatively" dressed, up from 28% in 1983, and 18% of the men were in various states of undress, an increase from 11%. Most of the times, the advertisers go a notch higher and suggest sex from just a word to its actual portrayal. About Seventeen percent (17%) which have ads in the magazine do a man depicted in actual intercourse in the year 19993 and a male implied of the same, which is up from percentage of one to about ten years earlier. A recent survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers found 68% of teenagers online are looking for information, especially regarding sensitive topics, such as sexual health (Chandra et al., 2002) Several reputable health organizations maintain web sites with sexual health information that target teens, including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, American Social Health Association and Center for Substance Abuse Research.

Additional research and futurestudies on this topic should include contraceptive use profilesthat allow a test of whether inconsistent contraceptive usemay help to explain the relationship between exposure to sexon television and pregnancy. In future it should be analyzed and examinesex being watched on television should be bale to predict the type of birth outcomes in reality for there is a kind of relationship between exposure to sexual content in the media and sexual beliefs, attitudes and behaviors (Brown, 2006).


It is evident that the relativity few existing studies selected and applied in the sexual context in the media suggests that the mass media can affect awareness of, beliefs about, and the possibility of sexual behavior. It is recommended that more research be done in regards to the study in order to precisely determine under which circumstances the effects occur through the media. The research will be in line with relevance of access to explicit sexual behavior that is highly increasing such as faith in communities, the parents, and schools which still remain quite reticent.

Related essays