Inspirational Quotes and Resources

Inspiration or Teen Promiscuity?

Some information used by permission of The Pinnacle Schools.

Parents, are you looking for programs for depression, anger, defiance, addictions, sexual activity, and low self-esteem for your teen? Have you ever been told to consider a boot camp or therapeutic schools? There are more and more parents just like you. What is causing this upswing in at risk teens? One parent homes, environmental issues, better understanding of the need for help. Some people believe there is a link between TV, computer games, and music videos and problem teens. There have been studies but many are not definitive. TV reality shows may be pushing teens closer to problem behavior. Parents need to be informed of these shows, watch them, and decide if they are appropriate for their teen in their particular mental situation.

If you are over the age of 24 you may not be inclined to watch much MTV, however kids from 12-24 are tuning in quite frequently. What started out as a rock and roll video channel now has "reality" TV shows. Soem might say these shows are inspirational but the jruy is still out. Sweet sixteen parties for the super-rich, teen mom reality series and who could forget the buzz about Jersey Shore? This cable channel has always pushed the envelope when it comes to sex, drugs and rock and roll, but their latest offering has people up in arms. Skins, an adaptation of a popular British show recently began airing on MTV and to say it is risqué would be putting it mildly.

Skins
Skins is a scripted show using unknown actors who range in age from 17-24 and the most recent episode has Parents Television Council asking the Department of Justice to file child pornography charges against the series. This arises because of a scene that depicts a teenager running nude through the streets after ingesting an erectile dysfunction drug. The problem is the actor in this scene was merely 17 years old!

Television Controversy
Even 20 years ago sex, drugs and nudity were not prevalent on television, but the question remains has the change had an adverse effect on teen attitudes and behaviors? It is MTV's contention that their show is geared for the adult population, which is why it is aired after 10 o'clock and has a TVMA rating. Of course, this is rather laughable since their number one age demographic is 12-24 and staying up late is practically a rite of passage for the teenage animal.

Marketing to Children
While many will say, it is the parent's responsibility to monitor and restrict objectionable material there is a case to be made for marketing this kind of stuff to children. Look at the successful restrictions on tobacco marketing. Between the Federal Trade Commission and the US congress, enough pressure was placed on tobacco companies to end marketing to children completely. Why would anyone think that marketing sex, drugs and worse to teens is any better? The long-term effects of promiscuity can be just, as harmful if not more so as tobacco use.

Fiction
There is also the argument that television and movies are merely fiction and that they are merely for entertainment and not meant to influence people's lives. However, when you are talking about influence on teenagers and younger children maturity levels must be taken into consideration. American teens and pre-teens spend an averages of four hours per day in front of the television and many take what they are seeing as typical, safe and acceptable. Couple this with the CDC studies on how peer relationships influence drug use and sexuality and it is clear that shows such as Skins can have an effect on teenage promiscuity.

Even if you subscribe to the fiction angle, MTV and other cable channels are promoting a long line of reality television shows that depict the same types of behavior. Partying Snookie and violent Amber Portwood are just a couple of examples.

Conclusion
It is a fact that adults should be allowed to decide what they want to watch on television without any interference from government agencies. This is the main reason television programming can continue to push the envelope on decency. At the end of the day, the best thing parents can do is monitor closely what your children are watching and perhaps learn to use the parental controls included in most television, satellite and cable programing.