The clash between the media's depiction of sexual relations and the real-life experiences of youth contributes to their difficulties in making healthy sexual decisions.
Typically, those who own and create communications media have been more concerned with attracting audiences and selling products than they have been in promoting healthy sexuality. A majority have a television in their bedroom; all have access to music and movies. By 2010, it is expected that most homes with children in the United States will have access to the Internet.Most are driven by profit margins, not social responsibility, and are not in the business of promoting healthy sexuality. It is not clear, however, when and if the current "digital divide" between lower and higher income families and between those who are less literate or non-English-speaking and those who are literate or English-speaking will disappear.If irresponsible sexual behavior attracts audiences, then that is what will be produced. The media-saturated world in which children live is a world in which sexual behavior is frequent and increasingly explicit.Gone are the "I Love Lucy" days of single beds and polite pecks on cheeks.
Homosexual and transgendered youth rarely find themselves represented in the mainstream media.Although a few youth-targeted programs, such as "Dawson's Creek," have recently included gay characters, what some have called "compulsory heterosexuality" prevails.