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“I think denying that [sex] is part of our culture in 2014 is really not serving our kids well,” says Lara Calvert-York, president of the Fremont school board, who argues that kids are already seeing hyper-sexualized content—on after school TV.“So, let’s have a frank conversation about what these things are if that’s what the kids need to talk about,” she says.“It’s a way to say to someone, here is a thing that could destroy me, I trust that you won’t use it.” On paper, the United States is checking all the right boxes of managing teen sexual behavior.The national pregnancy rate is at a record low and it appears teens are waiting longer to have sex, and those that are sexually active are using birth control more than previous years. has only gotten worse,” says Victor Strasburger, an adolescent medicine expert and distinguished professor of pediatrics at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.Or where Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” can refer to violent sexual acts in a music video viewed on the web at least 36 million times?
A recent CDC study showed that among teens ages 15-17 who have had sex, nearly 80% did not receive any formal sex education before they lost their virginity.Or where primetime TV shows—the kind you often watch with your family—not infrequently make reference to anal sex? Longitudinal studies suggest exposure to sexual content on TV and other media in early adolescence is linked to double the risk of early sexual intercourse, and young people whose parents limit their TV time are less likely to partake in early sexual behavior.Other studies have found that 10% of young women who had their first sexual experience in their teenage years say it was not their choice, and the younger they were, the more likely this was the case. ” Young people now engage in relationships increasingly via technology, which means they’re able to connect in a variety of ways and at a speed and frequency not known to prior generations.The singer Rihanna, for example, has legions of young fans.Her music video for the song “S&M”—viewed more than 57 million times on You Tube so far—shows the artist, pig-tied and writhing, cooing “chains and whips excite me.” It then cuts to her using a whip on men and women with mouths covered in duct tape.( The average American young person spends over seven hours a day on media devices, often using multiple systems at once.Studies show that more than 75% of primetime TV programs contain sexual content, and the mention of sex on TV can occur up to eight to 10 times in a single hour.But these numbers only tell a tiny snippet of the story. “Most of the time they don’t talk about contraception, they don’t talk about risk of pregnancy, STIs [sexually transmitted infections]—certainly not abortion.At some point you would think adults would come to their senses and say hey we have to counteract this.” () Strasburger says the U. shouldn’t base success on its teen pregnancy numbers: “Everyone else’s teen pregnancy rate has gone down too.“And let’s do it in classroom setting, with highly qualified, credentialed teachers, who know how to have those conversations.Because a lot of parents don’t know how to have that conversation when they’re sitting next to their kids and it comes up in a TV show.