Sexuality Education and Pregnancy Prevention (cont.)

Moderator: Where can I find more information about these issues?

Langrall-Folb: I'll give one suggestion to parents. I always tell parents that first of all, watch what your kids are watching. Sit down with them and watch it. If you really want to read or get dinner ready, it might be worth your while to sit down and get to know the programs they're watching. Even the bad stuff you can use to spark dialogue with your child. You can say at the commercial, what do you think about the decision that the character made? Even if the character made a decision that the parent disagreed with, the parents can give their perspective, and give their child a chance to consider the differences. It's also helpful because you can relate to that favorite character. What would Felicity have done? Use the stuff that you don't approve of to start a discussion. You can get information about TV or what organizations like ours are doing. We have a web site which is primarily geared for writers and producers to use as a tool, but you're welcome to come and use our web site, www.themediaproject.com, and Kaiser Family Foundation has a web site and the Department of Entertainment Media and Public Health and that is www.kff.org.  Those are two great resources about the work we're doing. There are numerous web sites that describe what's coming up on TV, and give parents some tips on the subject matter on those programs. www.ultimatetv.com  lists all the shows and a description and the characters, and keeps you up-to-date about what's on television. TV Guide also has a web site as well and it describes the programs, www.tvguide.com. 

Moderator: In your opinion, as the new season is winding down, what shows portrayed sexuality in a responsible way?

Langrall-Folb: I think all shows have the potential. I think every show has done something responsible and has the potential to do so. I can tell you shows we've worked with and we've had success. For the next season, starting in the fall, we hope and presume there will be more health messages. We are not trying to specifically remove sexual content from television, but rather enhance it by encouraging the writers to portray the whole picture, including risks and responsibilities. Removing sex from TV is unrealistic for many reasons. We work closely with "Felicity," we work with "Dawson's Creek," we work with "Moesha," we work with David Kelly Productions which does "The Practice" and "Ally McBeal," and next year we'll have a show called the "Boston Public." We work with "Judging Amy." We provide information for "ER," "Any Day Now" which is on Lifetime. Any of those shows usually approach it in a pretty responsible way or at least a well-rounded way. I like to encourage people to understand that TV is here, and it's not going to go away. It is a part of our lives and our children's lives, and it's not solely to blame for society's ills. If we can look at it as a tool for positive change, we can look at what we see on TV with a little more positive attitude. Even the things you don't agree with can be used to impart your own values to your child, and to cause your child to think about where he or she is with these issues. We want them to make intelligent decisions in their own lives. We want to make sure they have all the tools to make those decisions. If you watched more often, you probably would see that there's some good stuff out there.

Moderator: Kate, thank you for joining us today. WebMD members, please join us every Tuesday at 1 pm EDT here in the Family Wellness Auditorium for our live weekly event. 

Langrall-Folb: You're welcome. Thank you.

The opinions provided by Kate Langrall-Folb are hers and hers alone. If you have medical questions about your health, you should consult with your personal physician. This event is intended for informational purposes only.

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