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LaSalle Professor And Author: Fears Around Teen Sexual Behavior Are Vastly Overstated

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – On Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, Rich Zeoli talked to LaSalle University Professor of Sociology and Criminal Justice, Dr. Kathleen Bogle, about a new book she co-authored entitled, Kids Gone Wild: From Rainbow Parties to Sexting, Understanding the Hype Over Teen Sex.

Bogle said much of the hysteria and fears over teen sex, including games and secret sex parties, are vastly overstated.

"We found that both sex bracelets and rainbow parties have all the trademarks of urban legends. That no one's really admitting it, but they're saying it was friend of a friend. A paper in the South will say where this is really going on is the Northeast. Then a paper in the Northeast will say where it's really going on is out on the West Coast. So it has all those marks of that. We also know that when you look at actual data comparing youth sexual behavior to what these legends supposedly portray, it's a very, very different picture."

She explained that media coverage of something like sex bracelets, where the color of a bracelet a kid will wear supposedly indicates the sexual activity they have engaged in, does more to further the urban legend than to expose actual behavior.

"When you actually analyze the media coverage you see that, particularly in television media, they would do stories talking about that bracelets have been banned at a particular school. The ban is real, but they never really pointed to cases where kids actually did anything associated with the colors."

Bogle stated that, in some cases, media reports were crafted to instill fear it parents that pervasive teen sexual behavior is everywhere, despite a lack of evidence.

"They specifically wanted to convince middle class and upper middle class parents that this was your kid…The quotes were geared toward saying 'this could be your kid, it is the honor student, it is the girl next door.' There was a deliberate focus to convince parents that they had to be fearful about their kid."

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