TV’s Newest Punchline: Teen Sexual Exploitation

What are we doing to our children? Do we have any idea?

The Parents Television Council has released a new study about sexual explotation on television, and the results should alarm us all.


The PTC  tracked scripted original primetime programs from Oct. 27-Nov. 9, 2011, and April 26-May 9, 2012. They analyzed 194.5 hours of programming, and here is what they found:

“Underage female characters on primetime broadcast television are more likely to be presented in sexually exploitative scenes than adult women, and the appearance of underage female characters in a sexually exploitative scene increased the probability that the scene would be presented as humorous.”

In other words, sexual explotation of teenage girls has become the punchline of choice on primetime TV.

A few weeks ago, I wrote on the alarming growth of the term “just sex” in American culture. Somewhere along the way, American media (i.e. television, movies, music, video games, etc.) began promoting the idea that sex is nothing more than a benign physical act – similar to exercise or getting a tan. As a result, many Americans have lost sight of God’s design and the meaning behind sexual relations.

At the same time, depictions of sexual acts continue to involve younger participants, which means that a generation of children who nearly all have TVs in the bedroom and who stay plugged in to media throughout the day are losing all healthy perspective on this subject.

Now, according to the PTC, sexual explotation of teenage girls is nothing more than a punchline. We are selling the purity of our children for cheap laughs and for pornographic thrills. Shame on us!

Among the findings of the report:

— A scene was most likely to include sexual exploitation when the female characters were underage (23.3 percent).

— Sexually exploitative topics were more likely to be presented as humorous when involving underage girls (42.85 percent) than adult women (33.02 percent).

— Content involving sexual exploitation was usually presented as dialogue instead of depiction, but the dialogue was much more crude and explicit than depictions.

— Joke topics targeting girls included sexual violence, sexual harassment, pornography, stripping and even sex trafficking.

— The most common joke punch lines involved pornography (66 percent) and stripping (65 percent).

In an article examing the PTC report, the Baptist Press offerred these thoughts on how the Church can respond to this growing trend:

— Godly men should teach boys “what it means to be a man who views and treats women the way God intended.”

— Godly women should teach girls how to tell truth from lies, “embracing God’s plan for their own sexuality played out in relationships appropriately.”

— Parents should be aware of what their children are watching, keep open dialogue and help their children “revel in God’s message that each one of us is fearfully and wonderfully made.”

You can read the full PTC report HERE.

You can read an excellent commentary on the report from the Baptist Press HERE.

This entry was posted in Culture, Family/Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to TV’s Newest Punchline: Teen Sexual Exploitation

  1. Chris Pritchard says:

    Matthew, thank you for providing links to your sources.

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