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In the News How'd We Get to this Point?

August 9, 2009


View: A video clip that we pulled from a report eight years ago, after reading that the rate of sexually transmitted infections among 15 to 19 year-olds in Boston -- where FRONTLINE is based -- skyrocketed 70 percent since 1999. That's more than double the national average.

The video's from one of our most popular reports ever, The Merchants of Cool, which, in part, looked at media corporations' marketing of sex to teens in order to hook the youth consumer. Remember those eye-grabbing sex scenes that first surfaced in the 1990s on cable channels like MTV and the WB Network? They launched a seemingly 24-hour sex cycle of movies and shows like "Cruel Intentions," "Dawson's Creek" and "Beverly Hills 90210."

In his FRONTLINE interview for this report, Brian Graden, MTV's president of programming, noted, "We're throwing so much at young adults so fast ... there's no amount of preparation or education or even love that you could give a child to be ready."

What are your thoughts? Is it a subject that stirs you? Send your comments.

And watch the full Merchants of Cool film here. And read the synopsis, explore our interviews.

49 Comments

COMMENTS

Here we are in a country that seems to profess it's love for family values and yet the same leaders who advocate high moral standards and abstinence are in actuality engaging in those very activities. When it comes to the almighty dollar no form of hypocrisy is too much....lets just deregulate all broadcast media and let the market decide!

Dennis / August 9, 2009 4:35 PM

I find it ironic that the Murdoch empire, the media choice of the "Conservative Christian Republicans" is the very network most guilty of packaging and selling shows promoting teenage sex, promiscuity, under age drinking and glorifying prison escapees. Hipocracy for profit...

GrandOlePartyIsOver / August 9, 2009 8:27 PM

GrandOlePartyIsOver: Excellent point. I have been saying that for years. Why isn't Sean Hannity or Glenn Beck crying on the airwaves or doing segments on Family Guy? Because money talks, and if Fox was to air a live gang-bang, as long as Hannity keeps getting paid, his supposed morals wouldn't be bothered.

As for this video, it is the standard blame the media pitch. It's not the parent's fault for not knowing what their child is watching on their TV or PC in a locked bedroom, or for allowing them to have a TV or PC in their bedroom at all. It isn't the parent's fault that their child is allowed to date or hang out alone with the opposite sex at 13 or 14 years old. It isn't the parents fault that they don't have an honest conversation with their kids about safe sex, pregnancy, and STDs. We should just blame everyone else like Dawson's Creek...which by the way is about the most mild teen soap to ever be on the air. I can hardly believe this video even used it as an example.

This false idea that there is more teenagers who are having sex now than in the 80's or even the 60's is ridiculous. The only difference is now kids aren't embarassed to admit it, and more of them are dumb enough to get pregnant.

KIDS ARE GOING TO HAVE SEX. They have been since the beginning of time. It is the parent's responsibility to educate them and show them their choices, not blame the media when their poor little Bristol Palin comes home knocked up by some hick because the abstinence they have been preaching didn't work.

JRC / August 10, 2009 3:11 PM

M-O-N-E-Y It really is all about the money. I'm from the Boston area and early 30's. MTV, Beverly Hills 90210, Dawson's Creek, etc. was targeted to me in the same way that Gossip Girl and the other programs today are targeted to teenagers. Talking to my nephew and nieces is shocking. They talk about sleeping around and dressing "dirty" like it's nothing. I almost jump out to say something but realize I'm not THAT much older and I don't want to be that old guy I remember who didn't "get" what we were doing in 1990. Kids follow very closely what happens on TV. The advertisers know it and they can make money selling to them. End of story.

I think more kids are having sex and parenting is at an all time low. Kids are raised by TV and the internet. There were girls this last weekend who were no older than 13 but were dressed like the girls from my days in school who "put out". I wonder how this will turn out. I can't imagine it getting any more out of control but that's probably what the generation ahead of mine said.

Calvin / August 10, 2009 9:15 PM

One of the questions asked was does the media reflect teen culture or does teen culture reflect the media? What do you think? Kids are told how to play, how to share, how to act, how to say please and thank you, how to dress, how to behave, how to think, how to eat, how to brush their teeth, how to study, how to work, what to believe in, how to drive, how to mannage their lives, how to wipe their butts, how to do EVERYTHING their whole lives until they reach adulthood. They need permission to do many of the things that they do in their lives. Now you tell me. Does the media reflect teen culture? OR does it give teens permission to do ALL those things that they have wondered about. Sex and teen hormones, which can get the best of all of us regardless of age, is EXACTLY the very thing that teens are most intrieged by. It's not just sex but the root of sex which is relationship. How to become a person of substance and develope good relationships with other people. Something we ALL need to work on throughout our entire lives it doesn't come in the first 18 years nor the first 60 it is a lifetime endevour. If you don't believe this then why do you think there are bad relationships between people, countries whatever, all over the world. Relationships between people is a natural draw, but sex is the epitomy of relationship expression. It has with it the most dynamic of payoffs (children, why we are all here) and the biggest reprocussions either emotional or physical. Media addresses only the gratification part and gives lip service if anything at all in regards to the complex evolution of relationship building between two people. People have sex. Teens want to experiment with everything, all children do weather its building blocks, dolls or intercource. The media gives them the permission they need to do so, without any guidance whatsoever!

KLS / August 10, 2009 10:13 PM

Watching this makes me ill. There is enough blame to go around. Doesn't anybody care. Are parents so wrapped up in themselves? Is television so desperate for money and ratings? Deep down I know the answer is yes, but I am so repulsed by that fact. Yes, kids will engage in sex, but distributing soft-core porn disguised as entertainment, disguised as information is truely repugnant. The children in those clips behaved as though they were making a pornographic teaser. No thirteen year old boy or girl should be behaving this way. It was also clear they were to young to understand the implications of their actions. Where are all the parents?

stephanie macdonald / August 11, 2009 7:07 AM

I live in the "OC" Orange County, California and raised my son and daughter, now in their early 20's, in the epicenter of the "Scene" complete with the full media onslaught dripping with sex and drugs. Only through relentless parenting that included up-front, factual sex education starting in middle school were we able to guide our teens through this craziness. I first showed them photos of what sexually transmitted diseases actually look like, discussed how disease and pregnancy would wreck their lives, set strict limits on curfew, demanded information on where they went and with whom and if a parent was present in-home at parties, showed up at times to make sure my kids were actually where they said they should be, made sure they worked part-time jobs to help pay for their expenses, never gave them a car for immediate use - they had to ask to borrow mine - in other words, being the most UNCOOL parent there ever was!

However, I also kept a case of condoms in the home for their use, made sure my daughter was under the care of a gynecologist (she was allowed to make appointments on-demand without having to discuss her reasons if she did not wish to), was vaccinated with Gardisil, and allowed for OPEN discussions about sex without judgment from my husband and I. As parents, we knew that sex would happen before marriage and made sure our teens knew all the reasons why not to have sex but also how to act responsibly when the time came.
I saw way too many parents with teens hand over cars, with gas and insurance, not know where they went and with whom, and actually held parties complete with alcohol and weed! (They would get it anyway!) These are the clueless teens who are ill equipped to handle total freedom when they need rules, boundaries, and limitations on behavior and then experience the consequences unacceptable behavior the most! It was the easy way out for these parents because our way was the hardest way - raising teens is the worst because of the battle of wills it brings. Parents have to go the distance especially when teens are nasty, irrational, impatient, yell, scream, are sleep deprived, and beg for freedom. Parents have the tools to overcome the "media" but don't exercise control measures because it's HARD WORK to do so.

TODAY, MY YOUNG ADULTS THANK US FROM TIME TO TIME FOR KEEPING THEM SAFE, HEALTHY AND PREPARED FOR THE BRIGHT FUTURES THAT THEY ARE NOW LEADING.

Lauren Jackson / August 11, 2009 7:42 PM

I'm sure everyone know what goes on in the fantasy suite on The Bachelor/Bachelorette. That show encourages and glorifies sex before marriage which I thought was opposed by the right wing. Where is the outrage about that? I'm confused by the right wing. They must be wrong.

MJC / August 12, 2009 8:43 AM

I agree with JRC's comment. I think these days, the failure begins at home. Without education, "common sense" wisdom and effective parenting, our nation's children will be disadvantaged from the start against nefarious external influences. Teenagers will be teenagers, it is foolish to believe that abstinence prevails. It goes against the biological motivator of the human being at that stage in life.

Erick T / August 12, 2009 4:35 PM

I'm 17, and it's only now, after watching this, that I've realized how much of an "epidemic" teen sex is, where it comes from, and how it's kept up to look "cool" and even the "norm". And the narrator's description of it as a "giant feedback loop" hits spot on, in my opinion. But I think another big reason for the teen obsession with sex is the WANT for sex. And I find it disturbing that media moguls make and sell shows that promote teen sex, because they know that us teens have raging hormones and strong desires for making love, and that's prime time for making business for them. Thank you to FRONTLINE for posting this, otherwise I would not be thinking so strongly about it.

Joshua Brown / August 13, 2009 12:13 PM

Some of the most honest commentary and analysis I've seen regarding popular culture and its audience. Furthermore, without an informed two parent home, our Western culture will continue to spiral downward.

salvatore rodriguez / August 13, 2009 11:40 PM

if god didn't want teenagers to have sex, we wouldn't experience puberty until we reach 21 or 18 or 30 or whenever the moral high grounders think sex is safe. the thing is, sex is never safe. it never was and never will be. it's a lesson learned one way or another, sooner or later. it's not like teens started having sex because of TV. for thousands of years, the human race has procreated because teens have sex. good luck trying to stop nature at its seed.

peace

norman mcdonald / August 14, 2009 11:20 AM

We have forgotten who we are and why we are here! We as a society have totally indulged ourselves in the pleasures of this world and forgotten the hereafter. We have forgotten that we have to ultimately give account for our deeds in this world.

Forgetting the hereafter results in forgetting yourself and turns one into an animal who lives for no purpose other than meeting its bodily needs. If we are a cultured and social animal and our existence is coincidence then why can't we act as animals.

This is reflection of what we have done to ourselves and doing to our generations. This situation is getting worse and will get worse! These habits are bleeding into our adult lives as well and decimating the family life in America.

What a ludicrous trade we are making. Wake up folks and save your generations! I pray to God to give us all the courage to get past our own self!

JK Saheb / August 14, 2009 9:22 PM

Teenage sex isn’t the problem. The problem is teenage pregnancy and STDs, which America now leads the industrialize world in. The reason for our failure is not the sexual content of our media – Europe has a beat there – it’s the lack of sex in our public education and, worse still, fear based education (e.g. abstinence only curriculum). The data is out and the Jury is in. Read the “Sexual Education” entry in Wikipedia. The data will astound you. Sexual education must be taught early and often and it must be mandatory if we want to save our children.

Ian / August 15, 2009 12:45 PM

I gave up on cable and won't try dish or cable again until I can pick the channels I want to pay for. I never wanted MTV. I wonder how many others don't want that garbage in their house but do it anyway because in comes in the "Package (DEAL!)"?

I did not miss cable one single iota....everyone should try it for a month or two.

Think of it: the cable cos. are bending over the consumers royally and getting paid handsomely to promote filth in our society. The more channels, the more commercials, the more money money MONEY!!!
I REFUSE to be a pawn in that game.

Mikey / August 16, 2009 2:56 PM

I appreciate you keeping me abreast of contemporary culture so when I can I try to reciprocate. Don't get the wrong idea that all I concern myself with is youthful sexuality... I often watch PBS Frontline shows on my laptop. I was looking for the Bernnie Madoff story when I found the attached. It wasn't so much the sex part I found interesting as the last little piece in there where they're talking about the media filming youth culture and then the kids in turn watching the media to learn about being kids.

I wondered where kids pick up the data. The world seems so different these days. All this 40 year anniversary of Woodstock & the Moon Landing are taking me back.

Jane Ann Parker / August 16, 2009 11:01 PM

What this is, is a Brave New World.

A society that is only interested in self gratification ignores their civic duties.

I am an Atheist, but believe children and family structure gives you a reason to fight for a better future.

People may wan tot check out the BBC documentary Century of Self http://mrxfromplanetx.com and read Brave New World. I suspect Aldous Huxley read the work of Edward Bernays.

I do think Century of Self goes way too easy on Bill Clinton. The deregulation that allowed Clear Channel to buy up local radio stations and silence people took place under Bill Clinton. Repeal of the Glass Steagall Act took place under Bill Clinton, which allowed mortgage backed securities. The man was a corporate Democrat AKA Neolib.

ParallaxView / August 17, 2009 11:23 PM

This is capitalism at its pinnacle - profitability dictates content. Parenting -or the lack of it- has a big role to play as well. But consider this: more than 50% of American births now happen to single moms. Like Salvatore Rodriguez, I shudder to think how single moms will battle the 24x7 pervasive influence of the media even if they give up cable TV. All this sadly reminds me of a quote by a 19th century Asian poet who remarked in colonial era after observing the British that "western culture itself will be the undoing of the West".

Vic / August 20, 2009 12:13 AM

I have a 5 year old and a 7 year old, so I am bracing myself for the task ahead. I want to thank you, Lauren Jackson, for your wisdom on this subject. I would like to add that I think it is very difficult for the words of a parent to overpower the influence of a video from Hollywood made with large budgets and teams of seasoned professionals who know how to tap the senses. The answer is to prevent the child from seeing the imagery in the first place. I'm not advocating censorship (I think very few Frontline viewers would) but instead through diligent parenting it can be done ... and diligence necessarily means spending more time parenting. That means less time at the office, less time gardening, less time exercising, etc. This is what I'm bracing myself for.

Lars / August 21, 2009 10:35 PM

Teens will be teens. Boys will be boys. Girls are all cute and fragile.

These are blanket statements that are said to be backed by "researched" statistics. Who is doing the research? How is this research completed? I do not remember any surveys administered to the many teens I have taught. Before making any sort of judgement call or statement, we really should look into this so called research of teen promiscuity, and yes, in today's society, it is much easier to influence the world of teens and children via media. Why do you think billions of dollars are budgeted for PR and advertisement?

I do believe that if parents and society hold teens to higher standards, they will perform at those high standards. It is to easy to say that teens will be teens and will engage in sex because of thier developmental state. It is much more difficult to educate those same teens about sexuality, its consequences and its true "sacred" purpose (to strengthen a sincere relationship). Think about it. YOur body is your most intimate and sacred possession. Do you really want to freely share it? What about the psychological and sometimes physical consequences (there are other physical consequences besides pregnancy and STDs) for female teens who are sexual? Why is there such a great need for Gardisil? There wasn't a need before. Why are female teens so insecure and struggling with their images instead of the smartness? I have girls pretend to be dumb, so the guy they like is not intimdated.

As a teacher, I study the physical, psychological and physiological developmental stages of teenagers. The more I learn about their development, the more I believe every parent and teen should know it too and that maybe religion isn't so out there. A lot of what is being learned now is addressed by many religious attitudes. It is making me see religious structures in a better light. Others have gone through it and established a set of rules for the new generations to follow so as to continue to survive and flourish.

In the words of Dumbledore in Harry Potter The Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling, "Do what is right, not what is easy." And in the words of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, "How little of permanent happiness can belong to a couple who are only brought together because their passions are stronger than their virtues."

Liz / August 24, 2009 1:20 PM

Viewing this re-enforces just how manipulative corporations, media, special interest groups and yes, governments, can be. All as part of the art of self-preservation and self-promotion.

This reminder made me uncomfortable as I not only would - and will - do the same thing for myself but also because I, as a consumer, am often a part of what feeds this mechanism.

liquidgee / August 26, 2009 2:34 PM

I am 22, second eldest of 7 kids, college student- my parents never ascribed to the "they will do it anyway" abject failure of a parenting philosophy. They simply taught me by example mostly, through love, how to make the right decisions on my own. They stuck together despite unreal marital difficulties, extremes of poverty, mental illness, familial strife, loss. They insisted on teaching a moral view which they have spent a long time developing and constantly challenge and sculpt. They didn't have to be "cool" or "uncool" parents because they operated outside those pitiful boundaries. They weren't my friends they were my parents and thank God for that. They are HONEST!

As a result I never expected my parents to be "cool". By the time I was old enough to see what the other kid's parents let them do, I didn't care what the other kid's parents let them do. I never was a difficult teen because they had the humility to tell me about their pasts, their decisions, what that lead to... and somehow I was able to make that mental effort and take them seriously. Which really wasn't my doing, that was theirs. And I'm the relative failure so far! My older sister's a PhD student and would agree with my assessment word for word, though she'd say it more eloquently.

Despite the strong natural urge to rebel in my teenage years I find myself coming back to their philosophy because in the end it is based on LOVE and RESPECT and HONESTY. I have failed to make good decisions plenty of times, but I am proud to say that I have been confronted with drugs (many varieties), alcohol, and sex and have not given way to what I felt like doing with those temptations, not once. Perhaps I have had too much freedom in other areas, but these have stayed strong. My parents aren't perfect, but they'd never assume so either.

I have great pity for kids like those described in the "OC" post above. Forgive me, Lauren, but I couldn't disagree with you more. It may seem like you have molded safe and healthy children because you very carefully guided them through their mistakes. But in the end you have empowered them to believe that as long as they stay within the rules and boundaries: "safe sex", avoiding bad situations and bad crowds, making the healthy choice... that they will ultimately be happy. Sure, maybe they'll be successful if they live that long, but success doesn't fill emptiness, and wont necessarily lead to happiness. How could you make that awful presumption NOT to pass judgment at a time when their judgment was so lacking? You really thought not giving them a car except when they asked for it was any different from giving them a car? (Perhaps you don't realize how incredible your capability to give them one in the first place is). You think well informed carefully planned STD free sex is all one needs to justify having it? You honestly believe that experience is the best way to learn about the consequences of unacceptable behavior? What will they do when there are no rules? What will they do when you aren't there?

It's as if you despair of being able to keep your children from driving off of a cliff, so you make sure the car has airbags and wash your hands of the whole affair. What will they do when confronted with REAL decisions? Not "shall I smoke pot or not"... but the BIG ones that their, my, generation will be left with because of the condition of our planet at present. Will they say NO because it's right when the rules say YES? If you haven't noticed, the ones who control the rules and guidelines happen to be the very ones vomiting this sort of filth all over my generation. I fear my fellow twentysomethings may find it impossible to believe in revolutions.

The current lives of my many twentysomething friends who had that sort of upbringing show me quite clearly that the first and most severe unacceptable decisions were made by the parents.

John / August 29, 2009 10:20 AM

The flood of sex in movies, on TV, in ads, etc. is occurring because --
* It's much easier to write about sex than it is to write truly creative material.
* It's the easiest way to make money.
* There's a degree of interest in tittilation
in many people -- especially young people.
* Our spineless national leaders have chosen to ignore our Constitution's stated purpose in its preamble -- " for the common welfare ".
* The entertainment industry and lawyers'
associations give a lot of money to our congress.

George

George / August 30, 2009 5:58 PM

Thanks for bringing this Frontline episode back... Clearly, this still poses challenging questions to today's generation.

Carl / August 31, 2009 3:34 PM

Anyone who thinks the right wing of our government is the moral and family value's party, needs to have their head checked for brains. This is the same party who say in every campaign that they are against abortion. Yet in the last 30 years we have had 20 years with a republican president and 9 years that they ran the senate and congress. Guess how many abortions they have stopped? 0 (ZERO). They are too busy, along with the democrats to catering to lobbyists. They all work for the party of green.

Jeff / August 31, 2009 6:35 PM

This whole piece is ridiculous and sounds like something my grandfather would say. Sex is not the problem! The media is not the problem. Corporations are not the problem. The stench of abstinence only education, slut-shaming and generally archaic conservative "moral" values is far too pervasive in american culture for my taste, (but what do I know I'm a socialist canadian?)

"We're throwing so much at young adults so fast ... there's no amount of preparation or education or even love that you could give a child to be ready." Groan...Kids are going to have sex, they always have been. However, if there was a less oh my god sex is bad! and more open minded dialogue with today's youth then we wouldn't see rising STI's and pregnancy.

Mackenzie / September 3, 2009 10:21 PM

America has no values. The producers of these shows care about one thing MONEY! They are not responsible and do not care that they are responsible for the filth pollution of young and old minds. FOLLOW THE MONEY...The God of the world!

jyarbro / September 5, 2009 9:20 PM

The voiceover at the end of the clip hit the nail on the head when he said "...and that's when it hit me - its a giant feedback loop[between the media and the kids]".

The human mind has amazing plasticity, consciousness expands into whatever is put before it, and the more compelling what's put before it, the more mired it can become (sex, drugs, and violence are all crass and therefore easily-assimilated subjects/themes)

This is not just about the kids, WE ALL need to spend less time engaging in thoughts that are oriented toward shallow self-satisfaction and narcissicm, and more time engaging in thoughts that are directed toward the health and prosperity of our communities and our environment, which are unravelling at an alarming rate.

With the exception of thought-provoking educational programing found on public television, virtually everything on TV is garbage.

But back to the kids, since they are the future: Yes, kids are going to be obsessed with sex, because of the biological imperative built in to all living things. They don't need Dawson's Creek, they need solid counseling and information from parents and other community elders, AND THEN they need serious distraction in the way of youth athletics, clubs and recreational opportunities. Keep them busy, keep them informed, burn up that energy in productive ways. Some are gonna slip through the cracks, that's just the way it is.

The media who fan the flames of the runaway desires of this privledged society that is about to crumble should be ashamed of their contribution to our failing culture.

Nick Huard / September 6, 2009 1:51 PM

It is primarily the reponsibility of parents to monitor their kids' media intake; they are the greatest influence in their children's lives. And frankly, they seem to be doing a rotten job.

Today's parents have a bit of a double standard; somehow, they think that they can consume trashy media without having it trickle down to their kids. While teens are watching their teletrash, mother revels in "Sex and the City". Does she think her daughters will never see this show? In fact, this is an excellent example. In 2004, I went shopping at The Icing (a now-defunct subsidiary of Claire's Accessories) and saw three stylish notebooks for sale. One's front cover declared "I'm a Carrie" and was decorated with an image of a leopard-print high heel; the second stated "I'm a Miranda", with a leopard-print briefcase; the third, "I'm a Samantha", featured a leopard-print bra. "Sex and the City" was ostensibly aimed at women in their thirties. The Icing's primary market was teens and twentysomethings.

If you read "Cosmopolitan" over your morning coffee, it is not unreasonable to expect your daughter to read "CosmoGirl". If you hang on every scandal committed by Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian (am I the only one left who remembers that she used to be a porno star instead of a cultural icon?), then your daughter will look up to these women as role models. If you have X-rated DVDs at home, or even copies of "Henry & June" or "9 1/2 Weeks", the kids will find them and get curious. It is unrealistic to think that bad taste can be acceptable for adults but not teenagers. Adults should hold themselves to higher standards.

I don't really have a problem with youth sexuality in itself; it's the raunch culture that has sprung up in the past decade that I am sick of. Camisoles are not outerwear. Sex tapes should not be viral internet videos. Girls who are drunk, foul-mouthed and falling out of their tube tops are a disgrace (and, in fairness, so are the "mook" boys mentioned in the program). This applies to everyone of all ages. Sex in itself is not wrong or problematic; treating it without respect is, and turning twenty-one is not an automatic license to turn into a complete sleaze. The example begins with you.

G.D. / September 23, 2009 3:43 AM

I don't see it as a political party not doing enough...no matter the side that seems to proclaim values and does or doesn't do what they said.

I don't see it as squarely blaiming the media as this short clip highlights....when yes they influence society....but they are not under any oath (as politicians) or any family bond (as parents).

So, since I don't want it to rest in the hand of those giving oaths (politicians lie by the way).

It's a subject that differs with each family and each religion...so put the debate their. Let the family control the tv watching, the religion, the schooling....the whole game.

It's hard to control today, and anything is almost not possible to control in this modern day. So...you do your best as has been the same basic plan from the start of partenting with any other help gladdly recieved on such a difficult subject.

But help is recieved and not demanded or forced.

Dellma / October 15, 2009 5:16 AM

This is what tv created.Movies ,stars, influence kids and not their parents.
The tv is taking over parenting , which is bad.
No responsibility and disgusting manors of teens ,lack of discipline.

FREEMASONSruinsTheWord / October 17, 2009 7:20 PM

This is a blatant example of what all of us are up against every day. Madison Avenue has stolen our lives. It is an effort to block its pernicious and pervasive influence. Advertising even targets infants. Teens are just consumer objects, not citizens, not human beings. These children are just another example of our greed that sacrifices everything for profit.

To say that teens have always engaged in sex is a cop-out. The T.V. producers aren't responsible, adolescence itself is! Adults need to provide teens with role models, not exploit them.

Our sex and violence is destroying us. The Europeans do a much better job of raising responsible children. Could there be a connection between our obsession with free markets capitalism and raw sensation seeking?

Nora / October 19, 2009 9:26 PM

I as a teen of today do not talk about sex and violence on a regular basis, like this documentary states, it seems like the adults who made this movie make teens out to be a different type of species. The adults also talk about teen like they have never been one themselves. If so the topics are being discussed you as adults cannot tell us what to talk about and what to think about. I also think its better to talk about sex more openly so we can know how the act affects us at such a "young" age and what our parents views were when they were teens. As I conclude my thoughts teens should not be talked about and analyzed, but WE should be talked with about our so called culture. REMEMBER ADULTS you were also teens once as well.

Patricia / October 20, 2009 10:35 AM

Personally as a teen I think that adult figures on t.v. complain about how parents abiously aren't good role models. But look at t.v. obviously we get alot of the oh hey lets bang because it has to be cool. Adults hold teens to be perfect and that they can't like certain things no offence people but teens look to what parents think are acceptable and what they like to influence what they like and what they think are cool. Parents avoid talking about sex. i think they need to start talking about it because then when the teens start watching the high rated programs they will know abstinence is better than going out and banging who ever. Its really not possible to stop it. the mass corruption of todays teens is horrifying. im one of those teens that beleives its not right to go out and have sex befor marriage but im not going to critisize

Sam / October 20, 2009 10:43 AM

As a teen myself, i would have to say teens ARE going to have sex and it shoudn't be any surprise to parents,they were teens once. However dealing with the pressures of society and "being cool" i think teens, especially teen girls have a higher standard that sex is cool, which shouldn't be any kind of priority at the ages 13 through 17 or even 18 years old.

In these times i think sex has turned into more of an attention act and is done just to say it was done. The movie just shows how the impact of television and media really affect teens.

Which overall i beleive teenagers know right from wrong and should practice the thought of not being easily influenced. Maturity is the main factor in this generation of people. My favorite movie is the hangover and i like late night television, but i'm not going to rip my shirt off to every guy i see becasue the stars are doing it. i know the difference between a show that was created with careful thought out dialogue and reality.

ashelie / October 20, 2009 10:52 AM

You know, when I was in HS, we had something like 30 pregnant teenagers out of a class of 200. There were enough that they started a special school.

You can say all that you want, but life imitates art as much as art imitates life. It is reciprocal.

We will lay in the bed we make.

rev.spike / October 20, 2009 10:00 PM

Rupert Murdoch and his fellow "compassionate conservatives" only care about the survival of their fascist empire to continue to gain capital wealth. Their exploitation of government and the media creates diversion and distraction from the real drama they continue to create - criminal behavior that continues to plague our economic, social, and moral values. Oh, look there is a fire, better not look our direction while we have our hands in the bank. The issue is not sex. Wake up! Pay attention. Stay focused. Follow the money. What are you going to do about it?

Ross / October 21, 2009 12:01 AM

I dont think sex is anymore invading young teens now then in the 80s, 70s or even the 60s. I think its just more public now because the media makes it into reports, stories and prime time TV. I think most of this is more to do with the parents of kids then just media.

I'm not defending the media but there wouldn't be shows, videos or movies about this, if it wasn't already happening. I'm 37 years old, and I remember how much sex and the beginning of sexual desire and activity was rampant through out middle school years. But too often because a stupid hip hop bump and grind dance has turned a teeny bopper dance into a strip club, we think all these kids are having sex. ITs not fair to the kids to assume that, and its up to parents to maybe try and expose their kids to more than the horrible crap MTV calls music these days, and get their interest into other forms of music, arts, books, sports, and so on.

But when their parents are out doing the same thing, what do you expect. Maybe I'm just a old punk rocker, who is out of touch, but my kids have a broad spectrum of interest, and I'm proud of that, and so far, knock on wood, my daughter has interest other then grinding on some boy at the school dance and feeding off of POP media

Wayne / October 21, 2009 9:46 AM

Watching this really makes me sick to my stomach... not so much that we are encountering a new era of sexual awareness, but of sexual exploitation. Since when did sex become a defining characteristic of society and humanity? What happened to compassion? Understanding? The pursuit of knowledge? Maybe this isn't anything new, but something that we are discovering about each other; sex is awesome and for the most part, we love it.

I think we get so caught up in defending free speech that we forget why we have it; to communicate ideas and thoughts. So we've got the medium down pat... it's just the message that we've seemed to lose. I can't tell you how many of my students can't name the last 5 presidents, much less in order. But they can bring me up to speed on Lost or Dexter.

I think of writers who faced censorship... Hemingway, Balzac, Falkner. I wonder how they would feel to know what we do with a freedom that they would have done anything to have. This isn't to say that we should censor shows that lack a depth or intelligence to them... that would be horrible. I'm saying that maybe we, as a society, should put down the remote and talk to each other... or read a book... or WRITE a book. Then, just maybe we can break free from this pop-culture that seems to value only one aspect of humanity; its lust.

Josh / October 22, 2009 1:03 PM

Today's kids and the digital world.

Most of the kids today won't even bother remembering a telephone number, because it's stored in the cell phone. Why not speed dial it?

The TV shows or sitcoms these days have pre-teens and teenagers talking and yelling back at their parents and the parents just laugh it off that they just got disrespected.

I have a daughter who learned to dress modestly early on; no clothes too tight or too small and no cleavage or belly to show. She never went to Mexico for Spring break; she wasn't even exposed to the idea. As a divorced parent, I was responsible for knowing where she was most of the time. I know I've passed that on to her to be a responsible parent one day. My mother was a great example to me.

It all starts in the home whether there is only one parent present. Don't break that communication between a parent and a child.

Sharbat / October 22, 2009 3:17 PM

This country was founded on Christian values, most of the public believes in life after death, or so we use to anyway. What happened? From a religious perspective I would say we, include me as well, have gone astray. Let's start there and try to work backward to where we should be. It involves prayer, family, and coming back to a more old fashion values and religion.

Bob, Santa Clara / October 23, 2009 1:12 AM

why you can not teach to teach to make a bomb to teenager? Answer for this question may be because a teenager can not handling this type information. Sex information is too much for teenager even so that information deal abstinence sex. Information early without a culture that let the compromise it is a big mistake.(sorry for my english)

juan cruz / October 23, 2009 9:12 PM

Things are not the way it looks, yes people will have sex and procreate to carry on their race but acting in such a matter that we see in 13, 14 year olds is not appropriate. Things being done on the media and the conglomerates probably know this too. It's not because they want them to have sex but it's because that's probably the best way to stop them thinking about what's going on in the world to not get in their way. They want to do things without anyone getting in their way and traps like sex to lure them there.

anonymous / October 24, 2009 11:50 PM

http://mrxfromplanetx.com/propaganda

Propaganda (1922)

"Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man’s rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all received identical imprints."

The media knows this. The bottom line is sex sells. For all the Conservative love of capitalism, they deny it's adverse side effects. If this is what it takes to get a kids attention and secure ratings, this is what they will do.

On the liberal side you have nimrods who claim people are in control, and somehow this debauchery is liberating.

Mike Smith / October 25, 2009 10:31 PM

I think in this country today you need about 6-8 years of college and a very indispencible job choice to ensure you will have or at least easily replace a lost job. Now for my point, if you are pregnant or responsible in our society for a pregnancy you will never get to college you will problobly end up in jail at some point or if you are a woman of today you will problobly treat your body like a brothel after a young pregnancy and get pregnant 3 more times by three other guys to get a huge supplemental income and end up living off goverment handouts.This is what you are encouraging with these shows on network television and with poor or no restictions or penaltys for the women who repeat irrasponsible birthing with no plan to support and knowing the male engaged with was not capable of support. I say you have to take hard and firm action against this behaivier to descourage it and stop teaching it on T.V . It is time that we all Men and Women took responsability for what we have done to our family values and stopped defending being lewd and lustful and immoral.Everyone thinks its our right and it may come to be our demise via S.T.D!

Jarron / October 25, 2009 11:54 PM

We are all very sexual. We are all very given to using our power. And we are human. We have vast choices as to when, how, with whom,for what reason, and with what meaning. Sex, money and power are important--but not everything. Beautiful or ugly. Loving or abusive. Wise or foolish. Enjoy your humanity; a wonderful and unique gift to the rest of us from an endlessly innovative and boundless divine lover. There is a time and a place for everything under the sun. At age 39 I had loved many and loved deeply and for gave myself for the first time in full physical union with my newlywed--giving her a life of devotion to my own person, to her and to God. Life is broad. Life is deep. Life is high. Life is wide. ENJOY

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