The media recently reported that a popular clothing retailer has decided to reintroduce a catalogue that includes semi-nude, young models for distribution to their 18-years-and-older shoppers. Parents of some online gamers have been shocked to discover that some popular games allow sexual dialogue and communication. A popular youth star has been in the media spotlight almost every week for drug and alcohol exploits, revealing photos, or the “clubbing” lifestyle. The popular media has no intention to filter this information before it reaches children 17 and younger, and unless media companies decided to give us all voting rights in their board rooms this situation will not change anytime soon. But do these media messages really have an impact on the direct choices of teens watching them? Do teens really adapt their behavior to fit media expectations? A variety of surveys and studies on the topic have been done. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, teens 12 to 14 who had a high “sexual media diet” were 2.2. times more likely to have sexual intercourse when 14 to 16. This finding approximates itself in other studies such as Kaiser Permanente’s, and also shows that the influential effect is stronger in Caucasian children than African American children.
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