Racy movies influence kids to have sex
Perhaps not too surprisingly, psychologists have concluded that adolescents exposed to racy film scenes are more likely to engage in sex at a younger age, and with more people.
Researchers from Dartmouth College based their study on 700 popular movies, including American Beauty and American Pie, and found that teens who watch sexier titles become sexually active at younger ages, have a greater number of sexual partners, and are less likely to use condoms during casual sex.
The study looked at 1,200 children between the ages of 12 and 14. Researchers asked participants to identify which films, from a random list of 50, they had seen. Six years later, they were asked about their sexual activity.
Based on her findings, Dr Ross O'Hara, who led the study, suggested that "parents need to restrict their children from seeing sexual content in movies at young ages". The study was published in the journal Psychology Science.
Prior research has shown that adolescents who watch riskier behaviour in popular movies, such as drinking or smoking, are likelier to drink and smoke themselves.
The number of US movies in which an actor lights up fell sharply between 2005 and 2010, and this could have contributed to the decline in smoking among US teens, a 2011 study suggests.
Published: 24th July 2012