To many people this statistic comes as a surprise, in part because it contradicts conventional wisdom and alarmist parental concerns about sexually active kids. According to many media critics, our culture is awash in unhealthy media messages of promiscuity. People - and especially teens - are highly influenced by media, they claim, and that media often sends toxic, sexualized messages that encourage sex and unhealthy behaviors. A few years ago it was scandalous, panty-less photos of Britney Spears; then there was widespread concern over teen sexting; and then came casual-sex-friendly "reality" TV shows like Jersey Shore. And so on.
Surely all the sex-saturated airwaves are having an effect on kids, right? Many pundits and parents believe that all this sexualized content is leading otherwise chaste teens into more - and riskier - sex at earlier and earlier ages.
Those fears seem to have been largely unfounded; just because kids, teens and adults see trashy and slutty behavior on TV doesn't mean that they're copying it in their real lives. (In fact a report last year from the Girl Scout Research Institute found that regular reality TV viewers are more confident and self-assured than nonviewers, suggesting that there may be benefits to reality TV.)