The myths and truths of teen's sexual behavior.Winner of the 2015 Brian McConnell Book Award presented by the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research To hear mainstream media sources tell it, the sexlives of modern teenagers outpace even the smuttiest of cable television shows.Teen girls "sext" explicit photos to boys they like; they wear "sex bracelets"that signify what sexual activities they have done, or will do; they team upwith other girls at "rainbow parties" to perform sex acts on groups of willingteen boys; they form "pregnancy pacts" with their best girlfriends to allbecome teen mothers at the same time. From The Today Show, to CNN, to the New York Times, stories of these eventshave been featured widely in the media. But are most teenage-oryounger-children really going to sex parties and having multiple sexualencounters in an orgy-like fashion? Researcherssay no-teen sex is actually not rampant and teen pregnancy is at low levels.But why do stories like these find such media traffic, exploiting parents'worst fears? How do these rumors get started, and how do they travel around thecountry and even across the globe? In Kids Gone Wild,best-selling authors Joel Best and Kathleen A. Bogle use these stories aboutthe fears of the growing sexualization of childhood to explore what we knowabout contemporary legends and how both traditional media and the internet perpetuatethese rumors while, at times, debating their authenticity. Best and Bogledescribe the process by which such stories spread, trace how and to where they have moved, and track howthey can morph as they travel from one medium to another. Ultimately, they findthat our society's view of kids raging out of control has drastic andunforeseen consequences, fueling the debate on sex education and affecting policydecisions on everything from the availability of the morning after pill to whois included on sex offender registries. Asurprising look at the truth behind the sensationalism in our culture, Kids Gone Wild is a much-needed wake-upcall for a society determined to believe the worst about its young people.
Publisher: New York University Press
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 431 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 23 mm
"Kids Gone Wildrecasts our fears of childhood sexual abandon where they rightly belong-to aworld of fiction, not fact. Best and Bogle place our worries in broader fieldof understanding, revealing media drifttoward tabloidization, the machinations of urban legends, and the critical roleclass and racial inequalities play in the distribution of risk. In doing so,they help to explain why stories of kids gone wild gain traction in the firstplace. A timely and engaging read."-Amy Best,author of Fast Cars, Cool Rides: The Accelerating World of Youth and Their Cars
"Although research shows that white, middle-class teens are not actually out of control, that's not the point here. Instead, Best and Bogle illustrate how infotainment reporting, online hubbub, and misleading statistics combine with our psychological tendency to create stories that stick, even when there's no supporting evidence. . . . Even more importantly, the authors examine how cultural memes spread; their call to take a more critical look at the sensational stories we share, and how they do or don't serve us, is worth hearing."-Publishers Weekly
". . . These varied measures of teen sexual behavior separate myth from truth."-USA Today
"Bogle and Best analyzed the trajectory of isolated rumors about teenage debauchery to major network coverage on the evening news and found that few reporters took the time or effort to investigate the facts. Each time the public hears `Coming up at six: shocking news about the bracelet your kid is wearing,' in the same breath as substantive reports about the Middle East and the economy, [Bogle] said, they are very difficult to shake."-The Inquirer
"Best and Bogle dissect both these trends and convincingly determine that they are legends-stories that spread even though few kids have actually gone to a sex party or had sex based on the color of a bracelet. . . . Why do we so readily believe the tall tales? That part is easy. As Best and Bogle observe, rainbow parties and sex bracelets feed our paternal obsession with `threats to children's innocence.' For conservatives, they're grist for the mill of abstinence-based sex education and chastity pledges. For liberals, they're cause for worrying about the degradation of girls in a sexist culture." -Slate.com
"The book is easy to follow and Best and Bogle describe the collection of data and the ways in which data is presented in an easy to understand manner. The intended audience is certainly those interested in or studying Sociology, Gender studies, Human Sexuality, and Criminal Justice. But the book also extends to parents and those working with youth. It is an excellent guide to use when learning about the connection between contemporary legends, the media, and current behavior among youth."-Metapsychology
"Adult moral panic, fear of a sexually active teen planet and sensationalized media coverage are met with a critical eye and solid data analysis. Best & Bogle warn us, don't believe the hype, the kids are alright! A lively and welcomed addition to the literature in youth studies and media studies."-Donna Gaines,author of Teenage Wasteland: Suburbia's Dead End Kids
"An impressive expose of the outlandish stories the media tirelessly promotes about the sex lives of our children. Both shocking and informative, this myth-busting book is a must-read for any parent worried about what their kids are up to when they aren't around."-Pepper Schwartz,co-author of Ten Talks Parents Must Have with Kids about Sex and Character
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