Study: sexual movie content linked to earlier sex for kids

Children who are exposed to more sexual content in films start having sex at younger ages, a new study suggests.

The study found that films with sexual content “appear to fundamentally influence” young people’s personalities.

And Dr Ross O’Hara, who led the research, said the work “strongly suggests that parents need to restrict their children from seeing sexual content in movies at young ages”.

Popular

Psychological researchers at Dartmouth College in the USA considered nearly 700 popular modern films and analysed them for sexual content.

Researchers then spoke to over 1,200 participants aged 12-14 about which of the films they had seen.

The young people were then questioned six years later about their sexual experiences – including how old they were when they became sexually active.

Influence

Dr O’Hara said: “Adolescents who are exposed to more sexual content in movies start having sex at younger ages, have more sexual partners, and are less likely to use condoms with casual sexual partners.”

He commented: “These movies appear to fundamentally influence their personality through changes in sensation-seeking, which has far reaching implications for all of their risk-taking behaviours.”

Researchers pointed out that the study could not prove a link between films and sexual behaviour, but Dr O’Hara said: “This study, and its confluence with other work, strongly suggests that parents need to restrict their children from seeing sexual content in movies at young ages.”

Sexual

In the study researchers catalogued each second of sexual content for popular films. They found 206 seconds of sexual content in American Pie – a film about high school students trying to lose their virginity.

The researchers concluded that for every hour of exposure to sexual content on-screen, participants were more than five times more likely to lose their virginity within six years.

Last year critics warned that a film that promoted the trend of casual no-strings sex between friends would negatively affect children, parents and culture.

“Friends With Benefits” was criticised by American youth organisation Teen Mania Ministries who said the media do not care “about any morals or values that they are projecting and who is watching”.

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