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Psy 265 week 9 capstone checkpoint

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Media portrayal towards sexuality and adolescents is a growing concern for many people.
Exposure to sexual materials from magazines, electronic media, and television, has possible
negative effects towards behaviors, beliefs, sexual experiences, and attitudes (Gruber, Grube,
2000). Researchers have shown that portrayal of sexual behaviors within the media has increased
the viewing patterns and transferred what they see into sexual activity.
Because adolescents are subject to vulnerability, gender roles, sexual behaviors, and sexual
attitudes may be at risk due to their cognitive skills being underdeveloped. Sexual messages in
the media are mostly presented in a positive way; however, there is little discussion on the
potential negative risks associated with unprotected sex (Gruber, 2000).
Having been exposed to sexuality in the media may also give the portrayal that the
information obtained from an entertainment source might indeed lead adolescents to believe
what they see is correct and true. Some may feel they learn what they need to know from these
sources. These negative stereotypes may also portray a false sense of relationships, romance, and
sexual rituals.
Some media portray teen characters that may have problems that some can relate to, and show
these characters solving those problems as well as examples of how to behave in sexual
situations (Gruber, 2000). The Secret Life of an American Teenager is a perfect example of this
scenario.
This television show geared towards teenagers shows a fifteen year old girl that had sex with
a boy for the first time and resulted in her becoming pregnant. During the time she was pregnant,
she had support from her friends and family. This boy that got her pregnant was also having sex
with other girls, some protected, some unprotected. They portrayed this girl as the victim because
she got pregnant and decided to keep the baby.
When she had the baby, it showed her family being happy and joyful about the situation, and
also showed a boy who was not interested in the baby at first. This situation also showed her not
stopping her teenage life. She went to school, had no job, went out with her friends, and when
she was tired someone else took the baby.
I found this show to be an unrealistic view of teenage pregnancy as well as a negative
portrayal of what life is like in this situation. This show provides the false sense that having a
baby does not change your life, and things will be normal for a teenager is she has a baby.
The positive effects of media portrayal are the programs that are true and correct.
Knowledgeable information in reference to STD’s, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, male and
female anatomy, and appropriate sexual behaviors are all positive portrayal of sexuality. I also
feel that shows containing cause and effect of sexual behaviors are also appropriate.

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The media portrayal of sexuality has given me additional tools in which to help teach my
children about sex. I now screen my children’s television for certain ratings on shows.
References
Gruber, Enid., & Grube, Joel. W. (2000). Adolescent Sexuality and the Media. West Journal of
Medicine, 172(3), 210-214. Retrieved October 1, 2009, from www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov

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