A KATIE COURIC SPECIAL THAT EVERY PARENT AND TEENAGER MUST SEE -- "THE 411: TEENS & SEX"
NEW YORK -- January 24, 2005 -- Are young teens going too far too fast? If so, is it the exception or the rule? NBC's Katie Couric takes on the sensitive subject of young teens and sex in her hour-long, primetime NBC News special, "The 411: Teens & Sex," to be broadcast on Wednesday, Jan. 26 (10 PM, ET).
Based upon findings from a groundbreaking national survey of young teens commissioned by NBC News and People Magazine, Couric's special explores how teens, ages 13 to 16 years-old, are coming to terms with their sexuality. Couric traveled to Key Biscayne, Fla., along with 11 girls and nine boys from all across America to discuss cultural influences, peer pressure, abstinence, and oral sex. Parents of the teens also talked about their concerns with two adolescent specialists and explored ways to better communicate with their teens.
During the long weekend, amidst lights, cameras, and raging hormones, the kids got to know each other and Couric got an earful about what teens are actually doing, how little parents really know and how teens wish they could broach the subject more easily with their moms and dads. The teens selected by NBC News from across the country have different attitudes, backgrounds and experiences. They reveal that in a world where belonging feels so urgently important and swimming against the tide requires great strength, teenage life has changed since the quaint days of going steady. When asked about the term, "friends with benefits," Sam, 16, says: " I think you could compare friends with benefits to the driving range. There's no commitment to playing a round of golf. You just go there, work on your game, figure out what shots are working for you and practice up."
Their willingness to tackle sensitive and controversial subjects and their unflinching openness also illustrate that childhood is ending much sooner than one can imagine. Natalia, 17: "They call me 'The Condom Lady.' A lot of parents where I come from...they're very conservative...But if they really knew what was going on with their teens...maybe they would feel a bit differently about me handing out condoms."
The NBC News/People National Survey of Young Teens Sexual Attitudes and Behaviors is a pioneering scientific study that polls 13 and 14 year olds about intimate sexual practices. NBC News and People Magazine commissioned Princeton Survey Research Associates International to conduct a nationally representative telephone survey of young teenagers and their parents. The goal of this survey was to conduct a nationwide survey of young teenagers (ages 13 to 16) on issues related to sexual health and activity. A companion survey was conducted among parents, in part to acquaint parents with the survey topic so they could give informed consent for their teen to participate and in part to provide a point of comparison against which to view teen responses.
David Corvo is the executive producer of "The 411: Teens & Sex," Diane Masciale is the senior broadcast producer and Sophia Faskianos is the producer.
Photos of Couric's primetime special, "The 411: Teens & Sex," will be available at www.nbcunimv.com.