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Summary: Black Teens Influenced More by Parents Than by Media; Sexual Content in Mass Media...

Black teens appear more influenced by perceptions of their parentsí expectations and their friendsí sexual behavior than by what they see and hear in the media.

Exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines accelerates white adolescentsí sexual activity and increases their risk of engaging in early sexual intercourse.

  • According to an article written in Pediatrics, a recent survey was conducted on 1,017 black and white adolescents from 14 middle schools in central North Carolina. Each teen was interviewed when he or she was 12-14 years old and again 2 years later. The intent of the study was to assess over time whether exposure to sexual content in 4 mass media (television, movies, music, and magazines) used by early adolescents predicts sexual behavior in middle adolescence. Adolescents consistently cite the mass media as important sources of sexual information. Recent surveys show that white adolescents in the United States spend on average 5 to 6 hours a day with some form of mass media and black youth spend even more. The sexual content in much of the media these teens attend to is frequent, glamorized, and consequence free. In 2002, 83% of the 20 television shows watched frequently by adolescents included sexual content but only 1 in 8 of those shows included any depiction of sexual risks and/or responsibilities. The researchers of this study found that exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines accelerates white adolescentsí sexual activity and increases their risk of engaging in early sexual intercourse. Black teens appear more influenced by perceptions of their parentsí expectations and their friendsí sexual behavior than by what they see and hear in the media.1

1Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescentsí Sexual Behavior, Pediatrics, Vol. 117, No. 4, April 2006, pp. 1018-1027.

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