Jack Samad is producer of "Sex & Young America" and senior vice president of Internet Safety and Strategic Partnerships. He says the RAND study "flies in the face" of those who claim what people watch does not affect their behavior.

Samad believes the study should not only raise awareness for parents and teens, but should also highlight the need for greater media responsibility. "While parents certainly need to be willing to be the bad guys and monitor their kids' TV viewing," he says, "this also should be a loud wake-up call for the broadcast and cable industries to offer programming that won't send kids the message that sex with anybody at any time is free of consequences."

Rick Schatz, president and CEO of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, agrees that the media has not done enough to educate young people about these life-damaging and often potentially life-threatening consequences. Early sexual activity on the part of teenagers, he points out, can lead to such problems as "sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancies -- not to mention unseen emotional damage."

Schatz encourages mothers and fathers to help their children think critically about what they watch on TV. By being involved and proactive, he notes that "parents can actually play an important role in helping prevent their kids from making some bad choices."

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The survey results, as published in Pediatrics, are available online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/114/3/e280.

RAND Corporation (http://www.rand.org)
National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families (http://www.nationalcoalition.org)


© 2004 Agapen Press.