Sex and the City. Gossip Girl. Desperate Housewives. Grey's Anatomy. These shows are brimming with sexual content and the teens who watch them and other sexy programs are far more likely to become pregnant than those who don't, according to a Rand Corp. study.
A survey of more than 2,000 12- to 17-year-old girls and boys in 2001 and follow-up interviews for the next three years found that pregnancies in the group were twice as common among those who watched TV shows with a lot of sexual content than among teens who hardly ever saw them. TV viewing was strongly connected with teen pregnancy even when other factors'including grades, family structure, and parents' education level'were considered.
'For a kid who no one's talking to about sex, and then he watches sitcoms on TV where sex is presented as 'this is what cool people do,'' the outcome is obvious, says psychologist David Walsh, president of the National Institute on Media and the Family.