Do you Know What Your Child is Doing?

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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
The Social Network and You

Today, it seems it is getting harder to escape the subject of sex. It's on every channel on television, in magazines, in movies, on billboards, on the radio, the Internet and everywhere else imaginable. Sex is used as a way to sell music, artists, products, services, and people.

In 1953 one of the most popular programs on television, "I Love Lucy" changed the face of television forever. Lucille Ball became pregnant and planned to write "Lucy Ricardo's" pregnancy into the script. There were several challenges from CBS insisting that a pregnant woman could not be shown on television, nor could the word "pregnant" be spoken on-air. The network executives allowed the pregnancy storyline, but insisted that the word "expecting" be used instead of "pregnant."  In 1956 CBS made the decision not to show a gyrating Elvis Presley below the waist when he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.

When I was growing up most people believed that sex was meant to stay behind closed doors and out of sight because it would corrupt the minds of children and lead to sexually deviant behavior. Is it possible that we have been exposed to so much provocative and sexual imagery that it has become second nature to us? For instance, on television, sex is a regular story line and at your local bookstore a person cannot help noticing such magazine titles as "20 Things to Try in Bed," "The Sex Test," "How to Satisfy Your Man," and the list goes on. I find it ironic that at one time protesters used to picket in front of stores that sold pornographic magazines, but now anyone with an e-mail account gets spam for any type of sexual behavior.

Television has come a long way since the 1950s and so has technology. Nowadays technology has made the world a smaller place giving new meaning to the phrase, "having the world at your fingertips." By the palm of your hand you are able to connect to someone by means of texting or e-mailing from your mobile device or PC.

There was a time when your private affairs were exactly that -  private, but today social networks are impacting many people's day-to-day lives acting like a couple's own press release. Just like the appearance of an engagement ring, social media is changing the way people are broadcasting their relationships. According to 1200 women and men who participated in a sex survey by Shape and Men's Fitness magazines (New York, Reuters, Jan 25, 2011) nearly 80 percent of women and 58 percent of men say social media tools lead to sex faster. Therefore, smartphones and laptops have become the new bread and butter for our sex-obsessed culture.

A new study by the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine found that hyper-networking teens are 60 percent more likely to report four or more sexual partners and 69 percent more likely to have had sex. The buck does not stop there, a poll by the Associated Press found that more than a quarter of young people have been involved in sexting in some form.

Peter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. said it best, "What is particularly disturbing is what children are seeing. They are being exposed to sex and to talk about sex, before they're even old enough to even think about having sex."

Parents must guide their children through this world of social networking. Teenagers and young adults do not need another excuse to spend more time using their electronic gadgets.