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Learning Activities

All Learning Activities

TV Smarts

Included in this month's learning activity are the following sections:

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At the completion of the activity, participants will be able to:

  1. explain how sexual messages from TV may contribute to teen pregnancy, and

  2. identify three strategies to prevent being negatively influenced by TV's sexual messages.


30 minutes


  • Blackboard and chalk (or equivalent) for recording the youths' ideas

  • Sex and TV Quiz


  1. Make copies of the Sex and TV Quiz for each youth.


  1. Introduce the Activity

Explain to the youth that the activity is about sex and TV. Tell them they will take a quiz. They should do their best on the quiz, but they are not expected to know the right answers. After the quiz, they will be given the correct answers and then discuss what these answers mean to them.

  1. Have Youth Complete the Quiz

Allow 5-10 minutes for youth to complete the quiz. Share correct answers to the quiz. Encourage the youth to make note of the correct answers.

  1. Discuss the Quiz Results

Lead a discussion using the following questions.

  1. Which answers are surprising to you? Explain.

  2. What kind of sexual messages do we receive from TV shows and commercials? Possible responses might be:

    • Everyone has sex.

    • It's normal for teens to have sex.

    • People just have sex. They don’t need to think about it or prepare for it first.

    • It’s okay to have with someone you just met.

    • It's okay to have sex without birth control or STI protection.

    • It is important to be sexy.
  1. Why do you think so many Americans believe that TV contributes to teen pregnancy?

  2. Do you believe TV contributes to teen pregnancy for some youth? Explain.

Record answers to the following questions on the board for reinforcement.

  1. What can producers of TV shows do differently to help decrease teen pregnancy or at least avoid contributing to teen pregnancy?

  2. What can you and your friends do so you are not negatively influenced by TV’s sexual messages? In other words, how can you be TV smart? Possible responses might be:

    • Watch less TV (substitute another fun activity for TV).

    • Discuss how unrealistic some of the situations on TV are with friends.

    • Discuss how you want your relationships to be with friends.

    • Rewrite in your head unrealistic or unhealthy TV situations.

    • Remind yourself that TV is not reality.

    • Remind yourself that using an advertised product will not make you sexier.

    • When watching TV, look for positive and healthy messages about sex.

Conclude the discussion by asking youth to choose one or two of the TV smart strategies that they will do for the next week. Have two to three youth share which strategies they chose.

  1. Summarize the Activity
Thank the youth for their participation. Encourage them to protect themselves from TV's negative sexual messages by using their TV smart strategies. Offer the youth a final reminder that TV is not real, but their lives are!