While all age groups potentially could be affected by sexual messages on television, adolescents may be particularly vulnerable for a number of reasons. First, teens may not be sufficiently cognitively developed to discern and critique messages from television 1. Second, these messages are bombarding teens at a stage when they are in the midst of developing their values and beliefs around gender roles, sexual behaviours and attitudes. Further, we know that teens spend a great deal of time watching television. The average teen spends 3 h to 4 h per day in front of the television, which in some cases is more time than that spent in the classroom 2 , 3. The Kaiser Institute has studied both the frequency and content of sexual messages during the family hour on the main American television networks.
Influence of New Media on Adolescent Sexual Health: Evidence and Opportunities
Sexual Media Content and Effects - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication
There is growing concern about young people's exposure to sexual content through television and other electronic media and about its potential effects on their sexual attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Researchers have documented the growing prevalence of sexual talk and portrayals of sexual behavior in televised media, as well as associations between adolescent viewing patterns and their sexual activities. We reviewed the current scientific literature on adolescents and sex in the media—using searches of MEDLINE—and the psychological and media literature. The emphasis was on rigorous research and included accessing the expertise of health care professionals and other knowledgeable sources on the media. The available research does not adequately address the effects of exposure to sexual content in the media on adolescent beliefs, knowledge, intentions, and behaviors.
Effects of sex in the media
On television, sexual content varies greatly by genre, sexual talk is more prevalent that depictions of sexual activity, and references to sexual risks and responsibilities are minimal. Sexual imagery is also prevalent in music videos, where the most frequent portrayals are of sexual and suggestive dance, sexual objectification, and self-touching. Women and female artists are more often shown in sexual ways than men and male artists. This trend extends to video games, where women are underrepresented, and, when present, are much more likely than men to be shown with a sexualized appearance or in sexually revealing clothing.