Monday, August 30, 2010

Contraception and the media

1.5 mg of levonorgestrel for purse and dancebag
August 30, 2010
Sarah Estrella
Sex Education Examiner

American Academy of Pediatrics: 'The media have become one of the leading sex educators in the U.S.'

In a policy statement released yesterday, the American Academy of Pediatrics weighs in on Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media, calls for a national task force on children, adolescents, and the media, and advocates for comprehensive sex education, noting that "It is unwise to promote 'abstinence-only' sex education when it has been shown to be ineffective and when the media have become such an important source of information about 'non-abstinence.'"

Although much of the policy statement focuses on negative impacts of TV and media on the sexual behavior of children and teenagers – "more than 75% of prime-time programs contain sexual content, yet only 14% of sexual incidents mention any risks or responsibilities of sexual activity" – and increased sexual content and sexual suggestiveness in music, movies, television shows, teen magazines, the Internet, social networking web sites, and advertisements – lead author Victor C. Strasburger, MD also sees opportunity for positive impact, noting "The media can be powerful vehicles for sexual health education."

Among the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations:

* "Pediatricians can help parents and teenagers to recognize the importance of the media by asking at least 2 media-related questions at each well visit: (1) How much time do you spend daily with entertainment media? And (2) Is there a TV set or Internet access in your bedroom? Research has shown that bedroom TVs are associated with greater substance use and sexual activity by teenagers. A recent study revealed that office-based counseling is effective and could result in nearly 1 million more children and adolescents adhering to the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to limit media time to less than 2 hours/day.

* "Pediatricians should urge schools to insist on comprehensive sex education programs (to counter the influence of sexually suggestive and explicit media) that incorporate basic principles of media literacy into their sex education pro- grams. Studies have shown that effective media literacy programs can be protective against unhealthy media effects. Federal money should be spent on comprehensive sex education programs but not on abstinence-only programs, which have been found to be ineffective."

* "Pediatricians should urge the broadcast industry to air advertisements for birth control products. The federal government also needs to encourage the advertising of birth control, especially emergency contraceptives."

* "Pediatricians should urge the broadcast industry to limit advertisements for erectile dysfunction drugs until after 10 PM."

* "Pediatricians should urge the broadcast media to include healthy messages about sex and sexuality in their programming, especially in media that children and early teenagers use most frequently."

Personal comment: We agree that ED drug ads are far too prevalent on television and there are almost no adverts for emergency contraceptives like Plan B one-step that a girl could find herself needing if she is caught unprepared. St Lucy’s students 16 and over carry Plan B one-step in their purses and dancebags as backup in case an opportunity is just too good to miss and with healthy, energetic outgoing teens that sort of thing will invariably happen, which is why we recommend all students 16 or older have a GyneFix implanted.

St Lucy’s prides itself on providing age appropriate comprehensive sex education for students, the next generation of our nation’s female leaders. In this regard St Lucy’s is especially strong in the field of technique courses, contraception and STI avoidance providing through student health a full range of contraceptive devices and medications so there is an effective method available for every girl who needs one. And, there is counseling on a complete set of other options should the need arise.

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Powys , Wales, United Kingdom
I'm a classically trained dancer and SAB grad. A Dance Captain and go-to girl overseeing high-roller entertainment for a major casino/resort