Does the behavior and culture depcited on television reflect reality, or is it the other way around? This study shows that it’s probably one or the other, and more likely TV affects reality:
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Sexually charged music, magazines, TV and movies push youngsters into intercourse at an earlier age, perhaps by acting as kind of virtual peer that tells them everyone else is doing it, a study said Monday.
“This is the first time we’ve shown that the more kids are exposed to sex in media the earlier they have sex,” said Jane Brown of the University of North Carolina, chief author of the report.
Previous research had been limited to television, said the study which looked at 1,017 adolescents when they were aged 12 to 14 and again two years later. They were checked on their exposure during the two years to 264 items — movies, TV shows, music and magazines — which were analyzed for their sexual content.
In general it found that the highest exposure levels led to more sexual activity, with white teens in the group 2.2 times more likely to have had intercourse at ages 14 to 16 than similar youngsters who had the least exposure.
Most people who produce violent/sexual/offensive TV like to claim that there is no evidence that TV affects behavior. Now, there is.
Still, however, I like Michael Medved‘s argument against that claim: That is, if TV doesn’t affect behavior, then TV networks and stations owe their advertisers a 100% refund for every commercial ever run on TV.