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Spears, Lohan, Et Al Are Hurting America

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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REVERENCE GONE WILD Newsweek

Is the bad behavior of today's pop twits legitimate enough reason to keep your daughter away from I Know Who Killed Me? Or is Newsweek's latest cover, "The Girls Gone Wild Effect," another example of media-manufactured alarmism?

According to the mag's new poll, 77 percent of respondents said Britney, Paris, and Lindsay have too much influence on young girls. (Perhaps that's what happens when you put them on the cover of a national news magazine.) Here's a quick look at the other data:

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• "Sex surveys are notoriously unreliable, but the best available data show that the average age of first sexual intercourse for girls is 17 ... and hasn't changed by more than a few months in 20 years."

• "Smoking and overall drug use among teenage girls have declined in recent years."

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