Teens who watch lots of sexually explicit television programs are about twice as likely to become sexually active as those who don't watch the television shows, an article in this month's Pediatrics reports.
Kenneth Haller, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and a pediatrician at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital, is available to discuss the findings.
"Many studies over the years have shown that behavior depicted on television will influence the behavior of children," Dr. Haller says.
"Much of the research has revolved around violence. This is one of the first studies that shows the depiction of sexual activity increases the likelihood of kids having sex."
Dr. Haller can talk about what parents can do to protect their children, including limiting television viewing to no more than two hours a day, keeping televisions out of teens' rooms and monitoring the ratings of the shows their children view. Dr. Haller has given presentations on the American Academy of Pediatrics' Media Matters public awareness campaign, which examines the influences of television on the behavior of children.