January 21, 2009

Stating the Obvious

2009 1503 page7 capEDIATRICS,THEJOURNALOFTHEAMERICANACADEMYOFPEDIATRICS, recently published findings of the first study to directly link sexually explicit television programming to teen pregnancy.

“The study, which tracked more than 700 12to 17yearolds for three years, found that those who viewed the most sexual content on TV were about twice as likely to be involved in a pregnancy as those who saw the least,” reported the Washington Post, November 3, 2008. Quoting the lead researcher of the study, Anita Chandra, it added: “‘Watching this kind of sexual content on television is a powerful factor in increasing the likelihood of a teen pregnancy.’ . . . [It] provides the first direct evidence that it could be playing a significant role.”
I was amazed not with the findings of the study but that this was the first one to disclose such a link. Is anyone really in doubt? Has it truly been that tough to “prove”? To me, it seems to be stating the obvious.
I realize that society’s changing values and the confusion our youth are grappling with while trying to determine what’s morally right and wrong can’t all be laid at the feet of Hollywood. The issue is much more complex than that. But the numerous studies linking TV violence and child aggression alone are certainly a clear indication that “by beholding we become changed” (Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 91). Ellen White brings home the point when she writes: “Man will rise no higher than his conceptions of truth, purity, and holiness” (ibid.).
To obtain “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding” (Phil. 4:7), Paul’s counsel to the Philippians to reflect on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable (verse 8) are words of wisdom we would all do well to heed.
And we don’t need to do a study to prove it.

Sandra Blackmer is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review.