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» The Ornery American Forum » General Comments » Children, Media and Sex: A Big Book of Blank Pages (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Children, Media and Sex: A Big Book of Blank Pages
canadian
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TAI,

Society is made up of individuals making individual choices, and please refrain from putting words in my mouth.

When speaking of the ideal, I'm afraid you will never go far if you do not take into account why we have the society we enjoy today beyond a simplistic, "Hollywood and TV" model. There are factors involving thousands of years of custom, society and historical pressures and movements.

We live in a time that has been shaped by trillions of individual decisions, most of them very small, very few of them momentous.

So when I say, "Are sexually active adolescents the ideal? Who cares? What is the reality?"

I mean just that.

You seem to have this idea that your concept of what America should be is desirable. For you, yes it is.

But if the reality that society has dictated is what we are actually seeing, then this reality must be factored into your line of reasoning.

Americans have chosen the society they want. It was not forced upon them by any outside insidious force. If you disagree with the route society has taken, then you are not alone. Everyone has their individual preferences, myself included, that will not jibe with what is out there and some even go so far as to try to promote change.

Sometimes they are successful!

But blaming society for society's ills (as you see them) is downright silly if you are not willing to accept your own responsibility and culpability.

Have you never participated in something you wouldn't want your children to participate in? Never?

Then wake up to reality. Acknowledge your responsibilty and effect the change you want o see.

Blaming someone else for something you have freely been a part of is nonsense.

[ February 01, 2006, 05:52 PM: Message edited by: canadian ]

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ThinkAboutIt
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"I learned the basics of reproduction before I turned 7, as have many children. It did not warp my mind."

KidA--Canadian would want to know if that is reality or not. (EDIT: Sorry, Canadian. I just saw your post and will heretofore refrain from putting words in your mouth.) I'm sure it could be debated. But before you take that as a cheap shot rather than a joke, let me simply state that a sample size of one, unwarped individual does not convince me that there are NO warped individuals that learned the basics of reproduction before 7.

Having said that, you may have a point about knowledge, when carefully endowed. In an agrarian society, I'm sure kids learn about reproduction early on. Of course they didn't have American Pie, Howarnd Stern, or Girls Gone Wild comercials providing "scientific education" on sex.

Between "the subject matter is not at all clear from the tv commercial, and I doubt they are showing previews on the Wallace & Gromit dvd" and my memories of things I saw or heard when I was 12 and 13 and came to understand MUCH later, I have some hope that some of the shot-gun blast will sail right over my children's heads.

[ February 01, 2006, 06:02 PM: Message edited by: ThinkAboutIt ]

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ThinkAboutIt
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"Have you never participated in something you wouldn't want your children to participate in? Never?"

Sure I did. Didn't anyone explain to you how children come into being? [Big Grin]

Another attempt, along with "If parents would only be . . ." to shame me into abandoning my point of view. No sir! I'm not going to bite that one.

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KidA
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quote:
I'm sure it could be debated. But before you take that as a cheap shot rather than a joke, let me simply state that a sample size of one, unwarped individual does not convince me that there are NO warped individuals that learned the basics of reproduction before 7.

Well, growing up as I did one of the Bluest of the blue states, I have found that my upbringing was fairly representative. I've never heard or seen any evidence - nor can I think of any reason - why the "facts of life" would traumatize a child. In fact, as I understand it, the evidence would seem to favor informing kids about this stuff BEFORE their bodies start doing the unexpected.

(My own personal belief - we have a very big either/or problem regarding teen sex. As in, it's either abstinence OR intercourse. There are plenty of relatively risk-free sexual activities that are quite pleasurable that I think we're better off encouraging rather than discouraging. There's a big distance between first base and hitting the homer. The idea that any sexual activity is a "slippery slope", and that therefore only total abstinence is to be advocated, is really more harmful because it throws out the window any notion that one is in control oneself during sexual activity. One, in fact is. "Self-discipline" is a much less useful idea in this circumstance than "moderation".)

quote:
In an agrarian society, I'm sure kids learn about reproduction early on. Of course they didn't have American Pie, Howarnd Stern, or Girls Gone Wild comercials providing "scientific education" on sex.

All of these are aimed at 18+. Are you saying that your seven-year-old is exposed to these things? I've never even been exposed to any of them, and I'm a 32-yo resident of New York City.

By "scientific education", I, of course, meant sex ed in school. I think you know I meant that.

[ February 01, 2006, 06:19 PM: Message edited by: KidA ]

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ThinkAboutIt
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I do believe that my 7 year old has been shielded from American Pie, Howard Stern or Girls Gone Wild specifically by careful parenting. They are all simply examples of non-7-year-old (or even 15-year-old) friendly materials, readily marketed and discussed in traditionally family-friendly media (radio, newspapers, 6:30pm entertainment television magazine shows, etc.)

Yes. I understood your meaning of scientific education. Nevertheless, the movies do not often present their often warped sense of sexuality as farse or fantasy. Certainly on young, inexperienced minds, this can be easily confused for prevalent--dare I say it?--reality.

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LetterRip
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quote:
I do believe that my 7 year old has been shielded from American Pie, Howard Stern or Girls Gone Wild specifically by careful parenting. They are all simply examples of non-7-year-old (or even 15-year-old) friendly materials, readily marketed and discussed in traditionally family-friendly media (radio, newspapers, 6:30pm entertainment television magazine shows, etc.)
Hmmmm what the heck are you watching/reading/listening to [Smile]

I'd actually be fine with a bit more restriction on when particular stuff can be advertised and/or venues. Ie GGW ad during Home Improvement, Everybody loves Raymond, or game shows - ie 'family oriented' is inappropriate (I'd rather not have such ads in general).

Hmm can VChip - target ads? I'd be willing to support legislation to have ads marked for VChips to be able to block/blank them.

Heck possibly even have the vchip enable to its most restrictive settings by default (it is easy to switch, but most new TV owners aren't even aware of its existence even though it is in all TVs that have been sold for a number of years).

Hmm - from reading the vchip doesn't allow nearly fine grained enough control, and doesn't have ratings for ads.

http://www.tvguidelines.org/faqs.asp

Perhaps expanding the vchip capabilities would be a useful avenue.

LetterRip

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Ivan
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I'm not sure anyone in this thread has yet talked about the people who are really responsible for all of that teenage, pre-marital sex:

The people having it!!

IMO, we're coddling kids too much these days. Let's face it: for the most part, these are rational people making decisions on the information they'r presented with. Sure, some will be persuaded if they're convinced that a parent will be "very disappointed in them" if they go out and have sex, but by and large most won't. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that kids don't do dumb things. I'm just saying that when a kid does a dumb thing, they are probably the one we should blaim. I mean, how many people held the Columbine killers responsible for their actions? It was either their parents or Marilyn Manson or bullies who murdered all those people, IIRC.

I think it's rediculous that we could get through nearly 50 posts without mentioning that the people responsible for these acts might be the ones committing them. We're a nation that values individual agency. I think we need to act like it a bit more often.

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Everard
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I, personally, think its pretty ridiculous to pretend that teenagers have free agency. All the scientific evidence seems to say they are pretty irrational creatures. [Smile]
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FiredrakeRAGE
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Everard said:
quote:
I, personally, think its pretty ridiculous to pretend that teenagers have free agency. All the scientific evidence seems to say they are pretty irrational creatures.
Yes, but part of growing up is learning to take responsibility, to curtail your temper and to think before you act.

--Firedrake

[ February 01, 2006, 11:56 PM: Message edited by: FiredrakeRAGE ]

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Everard
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I know.
I'm just saying that if we, as a culture, think that sex is a problem, the way to address that isn't to yell at kids who have sex. It won't change anything in a major way.

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Ivan
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While I'm aware that their minds are not fully developed, I think they're generally more able to cope with decisions than we give them credit for. By ommiting the people whose decisions we're trying to influence, it just seems like this discussion is missing the point.
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Everard
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I'm not really sure it does, because we're discussing what influences their minds.
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Ivan
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I'm just saying that they influence their minds. Further, I'm saying that whatever degree of agency these people posess swamps most if not all of the "Hollywood effect".
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Joe Schmoe
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quote:
Originally posted by Ivan:
I'm not sure anyone in this thread has yet talked about the people who are really responsible for all of that teenage, pre-marital sex:

The people having it!!

I have to agree with Ivan. I think he's hit on the crux of the matter. People try to shift the blame and responsibility for their actions way too much in this society. Parents blame society, society blames parents or video games. That is what our kids are learning. If they screw up, its not their fault, their parents must have failed them, etc.

There are merits to what everyone else has posted as well. For TAI's arguments and other similar, the old adage "out of sight, out of mind" nicely sums things up. The fact that society is constantly advertising sex definitely DOES put it into your mind more often which can certainly have an effect. The problem is, what can you really do about it? Nothing that doesn't trample over some basic rights for sure. Which is where those defending the media or talking about parents taking responsibility have merit. At least increased parental supervision is something you can do to affect positive change.

As for me, I will take the freedom even though it comes with those who abuse it. The real issue I see here is accountability and responsibility. Both are sorely lacking in America today.

I never got along very well with my father, but I am grateful beyond what I can express in words to him for beating a little responsibility into me. I met my wife when I was 16 and by 17.5 we had given in and had sex once. We had both been taught about abstinence and both planned to wait until after college but we gave in in a moment of weakness. Six months later(long story) she finally figured out she was pregnant and I found out the same day. It was now about 1 month before high school graduation. Because I had been taught a little responsibility it never occured to me not to take care of the child. I quickly got a job and started saving up money. One month after graduation we were married(we had plans to marry in college anyway, we did not marry just because of the child.) The month after that we had our first child. We now have three and so far we have managed to do a pretty good job raising them. It was very difficult at times(try taking 20 credits in college while working full time and raising a family), but in the end things worked out well because we took responsibility.

I guess what I am trying to illustrate is that media, parenting( or lacktherof) can all have a big impact sure, but in the end the real problem is not that the teenagers have sex, but that they refuse to take responsibility. This is something every parent can work on and society as well. We should redirect our energies into teaching responsibility instead of creating endless social programs and excuses to cover those who act irresponsibly. Someone mentioned that teenagers have always had sex. That is very true. I think the main difference is that in past times more of them took responsibility. That is why we have a problem. The rampant teen sex is just a symptom of the larger problem that they are not being taught to take responsibility. Of course they would also be less likely to engage in promiscuous sex, because that is not very responsible. I think a little responsibility would go a long way.

Thats my .02 [Big Grin]

"I want to share something with you: The three little sentences that will get you through life. Number 1: Cover for me. Number 2: Oh, good idea, Boss! Number 3: It was like that when I got here."

- Homer Simpson talking to bart

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KidA
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Joe,

The thing is, "back in the day" a great many people did just what you did when confronted with a pregancy - they got married. That's why marriages used to occur at a younger age. Basically, before legal abortion, pregnancy for most meant "marriage".

Of course I 100% agree that we should teach responsibility. This is precisely what is done in any decent sex ed class. The better informed the student, the better they are equipped to make responsible decisions. I also dispute the notion that the media teaches irresponsibility - as I noted before, the evidence largely points to the opposite. (Just few days ago, I saw a film you've probably heard of called "The 40-year-old Virgin". Very lewd, the film is. However, the main character, with whom we are meant to sympathize, waits until marriage before having sex, despite numerous temptations. Another character in the film, a womanizer, later reveals that his behavior stems from insecurity).

Most teenage girls who become pregnant do so because they are ill-informed, or because they have very bad roll models in their parents (I'm not claiming that this is the case in your relationship). There is nothing here to indicated that our "sexually liberated" culture is to blame.

[ February 02, 2006, 01:56 PM: Message edited by: KidA ]

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Richard Dey
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It's not the undeveloped minds I'm afraid of, it's the fully developed ones [Big Grin] .
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Jesse
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KidA....unwed teenage girls have been running around getting pregnant out of wedlock for a very long time, no matter how well informed or well parented they may be.

People make mistakes. It's kind of fun to pretend we can come up with the perfect strategies to insure that they never will, but it's not realistic to believe that any system is going to be 100% effective.

Confidence, education, a positive example from parents, a well instilled sense of accountability, parental oversight, these all reduce the odds of a teen pregnancy....but nothing a parent can do will gaurantee it won't be their daughter.

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canadian
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That's true.

Even the most "properly raised" girls in high school were more active than their parents would ever dream of.

In fact, the more proper, usually the more active.

Gotta love Canadian winters....

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KidA
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Jesse,

Of course nobody's perfect. But information/education makes a big difference. If you compare the U.S. to, say, the Netherlands, or certain other European countries where the education is both more "liberal" and more comprehensive, the difference is drastic.

Posted for the umpteenth time....

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scifibum
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Whatever controls you want on teenagers, I think close supervision is the only truly effective measure one can take to control a teenager's behavior. However, many find it impractical to keep an eye on the kids all the time. I think OSC has mentioned a few times the old fashioned attitude that teenagers must be chaperoned. They came up with that one way before online pornography and TV shows about promiscuous young'uns came into vogue. I don't think they needed entertaining provocation to get naughty ideas, just time and access to the corporeal junk.
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scifibum
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KidA, the page you linked to doesn't seem to mention factors such as poverty, parental presence, addictive tendencies, sexual violence in homes. I think they all deserve a place in any analysis of sexual behavior and outcomes in US teenagers.
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