CBS reports – are images of party girl celebrities like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan harmful to young girls?
In a recent Newsweek poll, 77 percent of respondents said that these celebrities and others have too much influence on young girls. Eight-four percent of those polled said sexuality plays a bigger role in American popular culture than it did 20 or 30 years ago and 70 percent say this is more of a bad influence on young people today than a good influence.
“Our kids are being bombarded by images of oversexed, underdressed celebrities who can’t seem to step out of a car without displaying their well-waxed private parts to photographers,” writes Newsweek assistant managing editor Kathleen Deveny with assistant editor Raina Kelley in a cover article in this week’s issue.
The news isn’t all bad though. “Teen pregnancy, drinking and drug use are all down, and there is no evidence that girls are having intercourse at a younger age,” they add.
Yet, a study published last year in the journal Pediatrics found that kids respond to a repeated exposure to sexual content in television, movies and music.
“Specifically, the study found that 55 percent of teens who were exposed to a lot of sexual material had intercourse by 16, compared with only 6 percent of teens who rarely saw sexual imagery in the media,” the article says.
The best defense may be a good offense: parents must realize that they are ultimately the moral compass for their children.
“So watch your behavior; don’t gossip with your friends in front of the kids and downplay popularity as a lifetime goal,” Deveny and Kelly advise. “Parents need to understand and talk about the things that interest their kids—even if it’s what Paris is wearing—without being judgmental.”