The media’s messages, both subliminal and blatant, play a very big part in today’s society, especially in regards to youth and sexualization. It is impractical to believe that all children will be protected from sexually oriented television shows or music, but we as researchers need to understand, evaluate, and find preventive methods in prolonging these negative sexual images and preparing youth for a healthy sexual future.
The following slides will demonstrate televised media’s influence on youth sexuality, as well as their responsibility in the teen pregnancy epidemic.
The results stated teens who were exposed to high levels of television sexual content (90th percentile) were twice as likely to experience a pregnancy in the subsequent 3 years, compared with those with lower levels of exposure (10th percentile) (2008). The facts in the research show there is a positive correlation between the amount of television exposure displaying sexual content leads to higher sexual orientation and teen pregnancy.
The relationship was not statistically significant for black adolescents after controlling for other factors that were more predictive, including parental disapproval of teen sex and perceived permissive peer sexual norms. Brown’s article and research correlated with Berry’s article in regards to media influence on youth sexuality.
The following slides will demonstrate the manipulation on youth sexuality in regards to highly influential video games.
A very blatant way the media is targeting a younger audience is video games.
Video game persuasion is related to teen sexuality because it confuses the minds of younger audiences as to how women should dress and act.
Something that must be considered in regards to media research is music. Music is listened to for a large portion of the day—in movies, television shows, iPods, and at work.
An example that can be taken from this are the two most common genres in music—heavy metal and rap music. Both genres have been put into the spot light and scrutinized because of lyrics, video preference, and choice of dress.
Given the in-depth and valid reasons we can state with assurance that there is a positive correlation between media and adolescent sexuality but the research cannot simply stop there. Preventive methods must also be researched.
The need for more educational classes to be part of a regular school curriculum to impede these sexual actions learned would be form of prevention methods
Given the statistics that establish a link between overly sexual behavior and sexually explicit media more research needs to done as to why this is happening, other than the obvious facts that youth are more impressionable.
Media, Youth, & Sexuality
Psychology PSY492 UB
The media has a personal responsibility in the
over sexual youth, leading to risky behavior
and teen pregnancy. Children and young
adults who are exposed to over sexual media
(which includes music, television programs,
and video games) are at risk for being overly
sexual and/or teen pregnancy.
Berry (2008) stated data was taken
from a national longitudinal
survey of teens (12–17 years of age,
monitored to 15–20 years of age)
was used to assess whether
exposure to televised sexual
content predicted subsequent
pregnancy for girls or
responsibility for pregnancy for
Brown’s research (2006) tracked over time
whether exposure to sexual content in four
mass media outlets (which included
television, movies, music, and magazines)
used by early adolescents predicts sexual
behavior in middle adolescence.
The results of Brown’s research stated white
adolescents in the top quintile of sexual media
diet when 12 to 14 years old were 2.2 times
more likely to have had sexual intercourse
when 14 to 16 years old than those who were in
the lowest SMD quintile, even after a number
of other relevant factors, including baseline
sexual behavior, were introduced (2006).
The article states that
female video game
characters are more likely
than male characters to
be portrayed as
sexualized (60% versus
1%), scantily clad (39%
versus 8%) and as
showing a mix of sex and
aggression (39 versus
An example of a selected audience being
sexualized is the cult favorite Grant Theft
Auto, all versions. Grand Theft Auto
(GTA) depicted a man, usually a
gangster, who drives around the city
stealing car, running from cops, going to
strip clubs, and running over
pedestrians. There are strip clubs to visit
and on the most graphic GTA games a
player can pick up a prostitute.
Adolescents can spend
nearly equal amounts of
time listening to the
radio, although music is
used frequently as an
accompaniment to other
& Strasburger, 1999).
The Parents' Music Resource Center, a
nonprofit group organized to address
the issue of lyrics that "glorified graphic
sex and violence and glamorized the use
of drugs and alcohol," distributed an
information packet that included a list of
recent releases with graphic, violent,
and explicit lyrics. Almost all of the
songs listed are by heavy metal or rap
groups (Took & Weiss, 1994).
E.W. Austin conducted research with
conclusions that can confidently show what
media literacy has promise as part of a sex
education program by providing
adolescents with a cognitive framework
necessary to understand and resist the
influence of media on their decision making
concerning sex (2008).
Austin performed a posttest-only quasi-
experiment with control groups was conducted
at 22 school and community sites in
Washington state (N = 532) (2008). The
intervention, a 5-lesson media literacy
curriculum targeted primarily to middle school
students, encouraged sexual abstinence because
of federal government funding requirements
(3020). Adolescents evaluated the program
positively, with 85% rating it as better than
other sex education programs (2010)
Shows can be monitored and
tracked, channels banned,
and time watched recorded.
A parent or guardian can
simply use these tools to
help monitor the amount of
influence television shows
have over their children. The
same can be applied to
Internet use. Blocking pop-
ups and monitoring Internet
use will also help in
prevention of sexually
What would be the intention of
research into the subject, without
researching ways to inhibit the
A call for more cognitive behavioral research is
being made, hopefully with concluding results
that will decelerate the sexually destructive
A call must also be made for more preventive
With this research parents, guardians, teachers,
and peers will hopefully take into deliberation
the amount of media that is being exposed and
can hopefully avoid sexually explicit media
leading to risky sexual behavior.
Austin, E.W. et al. (2008). Effects of a Peer-Led Media Literacy Curriculum on
Adolescents' Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Sexual Behavior and Media
Portrayals of Sex. In Health Communication, 23(5), 462 – 472. Retrieved
September 11, 2010 from
Berry, S.H. et al. (2008). Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen
Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. In
PEDIATRICS, 122(5), 1047-1054.doi:10.1542/peds.2007-3066. Retrieved
on September 8, 2010 from
Brown, J.D. et al. (2006). Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content
in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and
White Adolescents' Sexual Behavior. In Pediatrics, 117 (4), 1018-1027.
doi:10.1542/peds.2005-1406. Retrieved September 11, 2010 from
Dill, K. & Thill, K. (2007). Video Game Characters and the
Socialization of Gender Roles: Young People’s Perceptions
Mirror Sexist Media Depictions. In Sex Roles,57(11-12), 851-
864. DOI: 10.1007/s11199-007-9278-1. Retrieved September
11, 2010 from
Donnersteing, E. & Strasburger V. (1999). Children, Adolescents,
and the Media: Issues and Solutions. In Pediatrics, 103(1) 129-
139. Retrieved September 10, 2010 from
Took K.J. & Weiss, D.S. (1994). The Relationship Between Heavy
Metal & Rap Music on Adolescent Turmoil: Real or Artifact?
In Adolescence, 29. Retrieved September 29, 2010 from