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A different set of factors was found to decrease the likelihood of first intercourse.
Many of these factors centered on parent characteristics, including having parents who monitored teens’ activities, having parents who were more educated or who were clearly disapproving of teens’ having sexual relations, and living with both parents.
The results supported the view that watching shows with sexual content may influence teen sexual behavior, but also found that some viewing effects can be positive.
Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are more common among youth who begin sexual activity at earlier ages.
In effect, youths who watched the most sexual content “acted older”: a 12-year-old at the highest levels of exposure behaved like a 14- or 15-year-old at the lowest levels.
However, given the rarity of such programming, the study did not conclude that there is no effect on youth from other ethnic groups.The average American teenager watches three hours of television a day.Typical teen fare contains heavy doses of sexual content, ranging from touching, kissing, jokes, and innuendo to conversations about sexual activity and portrayals of intercourse.The second study, described below, took this approach.Can television play a more positive role in promoting adolescent sexual awareness?