Study: Gossip Girl Is Totally Getting Teen Girls Knocked Up

Illustration for article titled Study: Gossip Girl Is Totally Getting Teen Girls Knocked Up

Teens who watch the frisky Gossip Girl are more likely to engage in risky sexual behavior than adolescents who do not watch shows about kids getting down in limousines. According to a study by the non-partisan RAND research organization, "Teenagers who watch a lot of television featuring flirting, necking, discussion of sex and sex scenes are much more likely than their peers to get pregnant or get a partner pregnant," the Washington Post reports.Researchers studied the television viewing habits of 718 adolescents ages 12-17. Among those 718, 58 girls became pregnant over the course of the three-year study, and 33 boys were responsible for getting someone pregnant. "About 25 percent of those who watched the most [sexually explicit shows] were involved in a pregnancy, compared with about 12 percent of those who watched the least," the Post notes. Researchers would not call out specific shows for particularly salacious episodes, but they did say that Sex and the City, Friends, and That 70s Show were among the programs watched by the teens involved in the study. Anita Chandra, one of the behavioral scientists who conducted the research, tells the AP, "We're not saying we're establishing causation, but we are saying this is one factor that we were able to prospectively link to the teen pregnancy outcome." Chandra also stresses that the sex on many television shows is problematic for teens because it is shown without consequences. "If teens are getting any information about sex" on these programs, Chandra says, "they're rarely getting information about pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases." Laura Lindberg of the Guttmacher Institute finds the study overly simplistic. "It may be the kids who have an interest in sex watch shows with sexual content," Lindberg says. "I'm concerned this makes it seem like if we just shut off the TV we'd dramatically reduce the teen pregnancy rate." All the experts concur that parental involvement helps reduce the risk of pregnancy in teens, regardless of whether or not those teens are watching high schoolers give each other BJ's on the new 90210. But Chandra did find that TV has become significantly more sexually explicit in the last few years. Simultaneously, after almost 2 decades of decline, teen pregnancy rates increased in 2006. Is there a chance that those horny Gossip Girl teens really are influencing real life adolescents negatively? Study First to Link TV Sex To Real Teen Pregnancies [Washington Post] Study Links Teen Pregnancy To Sexy TV Shows [AP via Yahoo] Sex on TV Increases Teen Pregnancy, Says Report [Time] Earlier: Teenage Pregnancies On The Upswing. Is Angelina To Blame?


Erin Gloria Ryan

Necking? Did that study get beamed up from 1957?