Sitcoms are a good source of sex education
- By: Clare Hughes
Sitcoms can be a good source of sex education for teenagers, according to researchers in the United States. Adolescents learnt or were reminded about the risks accompanying sexual activity after watching a particular episode of Friends.
The researchers said, "Television can teach the risks and responsibilities that accompany sexual activity in a way that books, pamphlets, and classroom instruction cannot, by portraying the experiences of sexually active individuals with whom adolescents can identify.
“Entertainment television also has the advantage of being able to model socially responsible behaviour without explicitly advocating it.”
Researchers interviewed more than 300 Americans aged 12 to 17 who watched the episode where Rachel told former boyfriend Ross that she was pregnant. Up to a third of viewers learnt that condoms are only 97% effective because they saw Rachel get pregnant after a one night stand (Pediatrics 2003;112:1115-21).
Researchers telephoned teenagers shortly after the episode was broadcast