A recent study has revealed that exposure to movies that contain sexual content has an impact upon teenage sexual behavior!
This assertion was measured along two dimensions:
1. Sexual Debut – A correlation was found to suggest that “Movie Sexual Exposure” led to teens having their initial sexual experience at an earlier age.
2. Risky Behavior – A relationship between “Movie Sexual Exposure” and an increase in ”sexual risk taking’ was also found suggesting an increase in unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
The study further determined that there may be an interrelationship between teenage exposure to sexual content in movies, sexual debut and risky behaviors.
This study is discussed in more detail on the Baptist Press News website and it provides something of a wake-up call for something we already know. These common sense correlations raise red flags to parents and verify that it makes sense to take care of a few things at home.
1. Be clear about your own personal sexual values to make sure they are in alignment with your own faith and beliefs. Throughout the Bible, for example, there are clear teachings about God’s gift of sexual expression and the boundaries that surround it.
2. Lead by example by making sure that, as adults, our sexual values and our movie watching habits are in alignment with each other. Let your children catch you doing the right thing by watching movies and surfing websites that reinforce those values that you wish to pass on to the next generation.
3. Be prepared to talk to your pre-adolescent children and teenagers about the contrast between your family’s sexual values and those of Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Better yet, make time to proactively discuss this with them in age-appropriate ways; rest assured they are already being bombarded from other sources.
4. Demonstrate your love and concern by monitoring the movie and entertainment habits of your teens. Transparent tools such as Covenant Eyes can help curb the temptation and empower parents.
Of course, there are no guarantees for success in passing on parental values to our children and teens. It just makes sense to communicate and encourage values that we believe in–and that we live by–to give children and teens a touchstone from which to make their choices in life. Counseling teens and their families can be helpful for setting boundaries and shaping behaviors.