Can the mass media be healthy sex educators?

Fam Plann Perspect. Sep-Oct 2000;32(5):255-6.


PIP: The mass media--television, music, magazines, movies, and the Internet--are said to be important sex educators. Yet, they have been rarely concerned with the outcome of their sexual lessons. Evidence is accumulating that besides imparting basic information about sex, the ubiquitous and risk-free media portrayal, coupled with inadequate alternative models from others sectors, encourage unhealthy sexual attitudes and behaviors. Notably, it is in the media-saturated world in which children live where sexual behavior is frequent and increasingly explicit. Nevertheless, efforts have been made to encourage more sexually responsible media content, and a number of comprehensive sexuality education Web sites for young people have been launched. Even so, it is unlikely that the media, including the Internet, will shift toward a healthier depiction of sexuality in the future. Therefore, efforts to both encourage the media to present a healthier view of sexuality and make accessible healthier sources of sexual information should continue. Most importantly, children should be armed with the necessary skills they will need to be able to create sexually healthy lives despite what the media mostly teach.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior
  • Child
  • Contraception
  • Family Planning Services
  • Female
  • Homosexuality
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Mass Media*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence
  • Risk-Taking
  • Safe Sex
  • Sex Education*
  • Sexual Behavior