Media restrictions on sexual content
Community Members Employers & Businesses Nonprofit Leaders
||20-49% of WI's population
|Impact on Disparities:
Is this program or policy in use in your community? Tell us about it.
Rating systems, parental advisories, and parental guidelines are assigned by media content producers and distributers to provide information on the content of television, movies, music, and videogames. They can be used by retailers and parents to restrict children and adolescents from purchasing or accessing media with sexually explicit or violent content.
Expected Beneficial Outcomes
Reduced risky sexual behavior
Evidence of Effectiveness
There is insufficient evidence to determine whether efforts to reduce adolescent access to sexual content in the media change adolescents' sexual behaviors. Some studies suggest an association between increased exposure to sexual content and increased frequency of risky sexual behaviors among youth (Brown 2006, Collins 2004, Chandra 2008). Other studies find no association between overall exposure and risky sexual behavior (Gottfried 2013, Parkes 2013), or an association that appears positive for some genres and negative for others (Gottfried 2013). Additional evidence is needed to establish causality and determine effects (Bleakley 2008, Escobar-Chavez 2005).
Citations - Evidence
- Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Fishbein M, Jordan A. It works both ways: The relationship between exposure to sexual content in the media and adolescent sexual behavior. Media Psychology. 2008;11(4):443–61. Accessed on November 30, 2015
- Brown JD, L’Engle KL, Pardun CJ, et al. Sexy media matter: Exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and magazines predicts black and white adolescents’ sexual behavior. Pediatrics. 2006;117(4):1018-27. Accessed on December 12, 2015
- Chandra A, Martino SC, Collins RL, et al. Does watching sex on television predict teen pregnancy? Findings from a national longitudinal survey of youth. Pediatrics. 2008;122(5):1047-54. Accessed on January 11, 2016
- Collins RL, Elliott MN, Berry SH, et al. Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior. Pediatrics. 2004;114(3):e280-9. Accessed on December 10, 2015
- Escobar-Chaves SL, Tortolero SR, Markham CM, et al. Impact of the media on adolescent sexual attitudes and behaviors. Pediatrics. 2005;116(Suppl 1):303-26. Accessed on February 5, 2016
- Gottfried JA, Vaala SE, Bleakley A, Hennessy M, Jordan A. Does the effect of exposure to TV sex on adolescent sexual behavior vary by genre? Communication Research. 2013;40(1):73-95. Accessed on November 24, 2015
- Parkes A, Wight D, Hunt K, Henderson M, Sargent J. Are sexual media exposure, parental restrictions on media use and co-viewing TV and DVDs with parents and friends associated with teenagers’ early sexual behaviour? Journal of Adolescence. 2013;36(6):1121–33. Accessed on November 23, 2015
Page Last Updated
September 10, 2014
* Journal subscription may be required for access.