A study published recently in the Journal for Adolescent Health concluded that media—TV, movies, music, and magazines—operate in teenagers’ lives like a “super peer,” a beyond-cool kid whom the whole class models its behavior on. And sex is what this cool kid is recommending.
By comparing a group of U.S. teens’ answers about what they watch, read, and listen to with their sexual activity, researchers determined that the teens got much of their input about sexual behavior from media sources. This could be a problem because, the report says, “media programming rarely depicts negative consequences from sexual behaviour, and depictions of condom and contraception use are extremely rare.”
The good news is that parents, religion, and school came in a strong second in kids’ sexual decision-making.