I don’t know how it’s possible to aruge that media does not influence our decisions. The evidience is simply overwhelming. Here’s another report of a study linking media sexuality to teenage decisions about sexuality.
“CHICAGO — Groundbreaking research suggests that pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who watch a lot of TV with sexual dialogue and behavior than among those who have tamer viewing tastes.” Full article here.
The study shows that while teenage pregnancies have dropped overall, those teens watching racey shows had, not just a small incremental risk, but TWICE the risk of getting pregnant.
Now, I know this article by the Guttmacher Institute focuses on the 1990’s, but it still is enlightening. It discusses the reasons for the dropping teenage pregnancy rates during those years. It’s conclusion is that both abstinence and usage of more effective contraception are the main factors for the drop in teenage pregnancies.
When I put the two articles together, it makes me wonder if the racey shows are encouraging more sex among the teens who watch them or the use of less-effective contraception or both. My guess is that the shows are influencing a decision for more sexuality.
Either way, what does this mean for a writer?
To me, it means that while I’m never responsible for someone’s actions nor in 100% control of what people take from my writing, I AM responsible for those things I know are highly likely to influence folks one way or another. I hope my works provide a wonderfully entertaining experience, but also avoid influencing people into decisions that will lead them down paths that will limit their happiness.