Teen Health and the Media
TobaccoAlcohol & Other DrugsTeen SexualityViolenceBody Image and Nutrition
Four smiling teenage faces
teensex title

Two teenagers hugging With media playing such an important role in the lives of today’s teens, it is no wonder that many of the messages about teen sexuality come directly from the media they consume. Primetime television, once considered “family hour,” is now a target for sex-toned themes in both action and innuendo. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that more than half of all television programs, excluding news, sporting events, and children’s programming, contained sexual content, incorporating an average of more than three scenes per hour. Less than 10% of the programs with sexuality themes incorporated any reference to the consequences of sexual activity.

Another study by the same group found that teens believe the media have some influence over their sexual decisions. The study found that three out of four 15-17 year olds (72%) indicated that sexual content on TV influences the behavior of their peers "somewhat" (40%) or "a lot" (32%). Not surprisingly, only one in four think it influences their own behavior.

See how the media is contributing to teens’ attitudes in three areas, each of which is focused on issues of teen sexuality:

[Back to Top]