Whether it’s through TV shows, movies, or even young celebs, the media has an important role in how we think about teen pregnancy. Some people think it has made teen pregnancy appear glamorous, while others feel it works to make us more cautious and aware of what may happen if we aren’t safe and use birth control.
Shows like “Teen Mom”, “16 and Pregnant”, and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” have become really popular lately. We watch the lives of these teen moms, either curious to see how different their lives are from ours, how hard it would be to have a kid, or just purely for the drama involved.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy asked around1,000 teens about how they felt about these programs and found that, in general, shows like these make us think more about the possibility of getting pregnant and how to avoid it. (http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/resources/pdf/FastFacts_Media-and-Teen-Pregnacy.pdf)
I was really curious to see if this was true, so I asked some of my friends what they thought. The girls felt that shows like “Teen Mom” make it more normal to become pregnant, while the guys thought they had no real affect - good or bad. Which made me wonder…how effective are these programs really? Our friends at Crushable feel that after showcasing 47 teen moms, MTV should be doing more to prevent teen pregnancy. Read more here: http://crushable.com/entertainment/its-time-for-16-and-pregnantto-do-something-about-teen-pregnancy-425/
TV shows aren’t the only things changing people’s opinions on pregnancy. Pregnant teen celebs have been more visible in the spotlight over the past few years. I remember hearing about Britney Spears’ younger sister, Jamie Lynn, getting pregnant and being completely surprised. Then came Bristol Palin’s pregnancy. And then another, and another. With each breaking story came a lot of opinionated and outraged parents, Worried that their children’s role models may be giving them the wrong idea.
It seems that everyone has different feelings about it, but truth is the rate of teen pregnancy has been slowly declining over the years. If the media is responsible for this, it definitely wouldn’t hurt to keep these shows around for years to come.