Sex on Television and its Negative Impact on Society and Teenagers
One of the lasting testaments of modern technology still persists until today, and that is the television. From the time the television was introduced, until today, it has grown bigger and a much more complex social component that created jobs, broadened many different industries and have become important and integral part of the modern family and social life. It is important to investigate what the television communicates to its audience so that the society can identify how the television and its content is becoming a source of problem for the society and its people.
Television show portrays snippets of life, like sex. The question is whether or not television shows are being consistent to the truth regarding sex, or if they are twisting it to make it more entertaining to watch. Is the society’s censoring enough to create a sense of safe guard? Or is it not enough and that is why the negative impact of sex on television is felt by the society and is reflected among groups of individuals like teenagers? Everyday, millions and millions of people all around the world are glued on their television sets.
As they watch programs after programs, they are unaware that what they see on the screen impacts their thinking, perspectives and beliefs, and later on their actions. The many different themes affect the consciousness of the viewer. One of the themes strongly affecting the consciousness of the audience is the sex content, and why not? It is exciting to watch, it appeals to the senses and touches at the carnal instinct present in every human being.
From kissing to touching to fondling to actual love making, from overt to implied sex and everything in between, television has proved its notoriety when it comes to presenting sex to the audience via its shows. Sex on television is an important component in the deterioration of moral values in the society and among its teenagers in particular. This is the main reason why sex on television is considered as something that has a negative effect on society and the teenager.
This is revealed in how sex on television alters behaviors, mindset and perspective especially of teenagers and how this, in turn, is important in looking at how sex on television is impacting the society in general. Television is a powerful tool that shapes the mindset, attitude, ideas, behavior and other important components of an individual. This is because of many reasons. First, what the person sees while watching television has the strong ability to influence what the person thinks, feels, believes and does.
Second, this condition is amplified by the fact that more and more people all around the world are hooked on television. As an appliance that has both the cheaper and high end versions, both the poor and the rich alike are capable of buying a television. Considering the role of television in society (i. e. as source of information via news, and as one of the primary source of entertainment via its other shows), television has become an important necessity in the society today.
Because of that, more and more people are exposed to television and are vulnerable to experiencing the negative impacts of television to the individual via its content. Television show contents have been targeted by many critics. There are many kinds of content that are being criticized, and one of them is sex. Sex is identified and criticized because it is a very sensitive aspect of social and personal life. As television and mass media evolved through the years, what can and cannot be seen on television also changed. What one can regularly see now in television maybe something that is prohibited 10 or 20 years ago.
As the guidelines for acceptable content changes, what remains the same is that content like sex on television continues to have a negative effect on the society and its teenagers in particular. Teenagers are easily impressionable and at this stage tend to be easily influenced by what they see and hear. Considering a common lifestyle that is saturated with exposure to television, it is not surprising to find that television is one of the things that strongly influence teenagers, including the sex content of television shows.
The society is also affected by the effects of television since social aspects react to how people – who are influenced by television – act, behave and see and understand things. The way of life, the laws and rules, practices and traditions, beliefs and customs as well as mores, and the overall disposition of the society, are strongly affected by the people who, in turn, are affected by what they see on television, including sex (Rosen 127).
Sex on television is found all around different television show genres – sitcoms and soap operas, comedy shows and talk shows, TV series, reality shows, movies for television, etc. The range of sexual explicit content varies, as well as what was being presented and how. There are those who believe that there is a reason why guardians of social morality should be alarmed in the rise of sex on television and more importantly the need to investigate this phenomenon.
This is to ascertain the exact extent of impact and effect on the society and on the teenagers. Variables and statistical details would vary considering the differences in viewing tendencies and television show contents, among others. As a whole, there is no denying the potential for negative impact found in sex on television (Rosen 127). How does sex on television impact the teenager? The answer is, in many ways, and unfortunately, not every kind of impact and effect is positive, since some are negative.
This is the reason there are censorship in the first place. The society believes that the teenager, in his or her stage and age, is not yet ready to be exposed to things that the individual is not yet prepared for, in fear of mismanaging the exposure and resulting to negative impact, like how information on sex via television can distort the mindset of an individual teenager. Sex on television negatively impacts the teenager when sex on television is the source of wrong kind of information, notion, perspective and behavior by the teenager.
The teenagers are prone to considering that sex is something they talk about themselves and rarely with adults, and because of the proliferation of television shows they become the starting point of conversation leading to the topic of sex (Rosen 127). Many conservative and traditional perspectives on the impact of sex on television to the teenager believes that being exposed to sex on television heightens the curiosity of the teenagers with regards to sex, and more importantly, creates a set of incorrect notions regarding sex.
As mostly inexperienced individuals, teenagers do not have any way of knowing whether what they believe about sex is correct or not. Because of that, they have no consciousness of correcting such problem. Sex stereotypes (on individuals as well as on experiences) mislead and misinform the teenagers, creating a different set of expectations which is not in alignment with the reality. If they are frustrated by their expectations, they might resort to getting it in other ways, which leads to perversion as well as criminal actions later on.
Moralists who believe that teenagers should be shielded from incorrect notions and beliefs about sex believe that the psyche of the teenager is attacked by the sex on television. Time and again, it is stressed that the mind of the teenagers is as absorbent as the sponge and is rarely selective in information gathering. By being able to access sex on television since it is commonly seen in many television shows, the teenager is bombarded with ideas about sex which they would pursue (sometimes recklessly), resulting to more problems.
There is unwanted pregnancy among others, sexually transmitted disease, etc. Premarital sex is one of the sensitive issues teenagers face, and television is not helping considering how television “glorifies” premarital sex, among others (Krcmar 90). Television portrays sex in its different varied conditions and aspects. These portrayals and depictions often do not contain realistic ideas. For example, television shows like Desperate Housewives and Sex and the City portrays extreme sexual behaviors like uncontrolled cravings for sex as something that is okay and something that one should be proud of.
However, in real life, sexual addiction is not normal and it requires professional help. Unlike in television, sex is something not easily solicited from anyone. Unlike in television, sex in real life can result to many serious consequences especially if the person is not careful with his or her actions. The deviation from the truth when it comes to aspect of sex is what makes sex on television dangerous to the teenagers because it can lead them to believe in incorrect things. Sex on television’s effects on the teenager is one way on how sex and television impacts society in general.
Of course, there are also other ways on how the society is negatively affected by the presence of sex on television, and the demographics wherein the impact is visible is not limited to teenagers, but to adults as well. Sex on television may send messages helpful to couples or to single individuals like intimacy and other things. Often, sex on television results to negative reactions from the viewers and is considered as a negative content especially in global television, alongside greed and other negative values perceived as absorbed via television and its content (Vijayalakshmi 43).
Studies and researches reveal that sex on television sends the message that sex is casual. Because of that, the sense of moral responsibility that goes along with sex is slowly deteriorating and is being replaced by a different set of attitudes and perspectives. Morality and sexual control is being threatened and replaced by a sense of promiscuity. The idea of being liberated sexually is taken out of context as a result of exposure to sex on television by individuals, teenagers and adults as well.
Sex on television encourages and influences even adults to actively pursue sex even those which are outside the construct of socially accepted morality regarding sex and sexual activities of individuals. Sex on television creates a new set of gender roles to which men and women are placed on, resulting to not just roles but stereotypes as well for men and women which is not only unfair to both genders but is also uncalled for.
There is a renewed interest in the investigation of this matter. “Innumerable content studies have been conducted on sex-role stereotyping in the media (Bryant, Oliver 343). ” Women are becoming targets and are seen as sex objects by men, and vice versa, especially in situations simulated in television shows and are responsible for the creation of sex object stereotypes (i. e. the “foxy cougar,” or the desirable married woman in her thirties and forties) in television shows.
Examples are shows featuring upscale families and its housewives, the office hottie that the opposite sex fantasizes of having sex with, the imagination or idea rooted from sex on television experience and exposure, and the coed chick from school, among other stereotypes. The creation of stereotypes and images and the exploration of imaginations regarding sex (especially the perverted and the wrongful sex which is more exciting to more people compared to the ordinary, average everyday sex they actually get in real life) heighten the imagination and distract the people from work or study.
They lose focus and becomes obsessed and consumed by the need to satisfy what watching sex on television has aroused in them. Sex on television assists in the heightening of the imagination of individuals who may have emotional and psychological problems. This kind of visual stimulation that is communicated to the brain or psyche can lead individuals to commit criminal actions like rape, acts of lasciviousness and other actions. This could have been prevented, or its rate decreased and limited, if sex on television is not as rampant as it is today.
Many criminal cases (i. e. rape) are borne out of exposure to and influence of visual cues regarding sex. One of the sources of these visual cues that stimulate the brain is sex on television. Many mass communication, education and learning models and theories posit the idea that the individual as an entity that learns based from experience draws from external sources, which include human as well as non-human sources of information.
Television easily comes off as a source of information for the individual, the television providing information that the individual uses in the learning process. The television is a powerful tool for information. People appreciate the television based on what it gives the individual every day. Like anything else in the world, this two has its other side – a side that reveals how television can also be a vehicle for misinformation and misdirection, especially based on some of its contents, like sex. Sex on television has become pervasive over time.
Many believe that it is the presence of such content in television that is the root of some of the present day problems of the society and of the teenager in particular, leading people to believe that sex on television can negatively impact and affect the society and the teenagers. Actions done by humans towards other human beings (and sometimes even to non human beings) can be something that is affected by sex on television. Behavior regarding and towards sex is strongly affected by what the person see in television, in the belief that it is a mirror reflection of real life, when in fact, sometimes it is a distortion of real life.