According to a recent survey commissioned by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the answer is...
According to a recent survey commissioned by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the answer is no -- at least, television programs don't make teen pregnancy appealing. An article in the Washington Times took a look at the survey and the responses. A fair amount of focus is on the MTV show 16 and Pregnant. Have you seen it? I'm apparently showing my age because I don't know what channel MTV is on and I haven't since we moved...exactly one year ago. However, a few months ago, I went to MTV's website and watched clips from a few episodes. Wow. We all know that reality television is often anything but reality, but the parts of 16 and Pregnant that I watched sure seemed real. And even if the show isn't 100% real life, I can assure you that seeing that as a teen would definitely have reminded me of how much more fun I was having hanging out with my friends than I would have been if I were parenting a baby. According to the Times article, 60% of the teens surveyed had seen 16 and Pregnant. Furthermore,
[of]f those teens, 82 percent thought the show helped teens understand the challenges of childbearing much better, while only 15 percent thought it glamorized having a baby in high school.
I just want to know about those 15%!!! I didn't become a mom until 27 -- almost 28 -- and I could have shown you a whole bunch of unglamorous parts of having a baby in your late 20's. Joking aside, tough, because teen pregnancy is no joke, I'm glad to see that a reality show created by MTV has a positive impact on the teens who are watching it. As the Times article noted, MTV produces plenty of reality programs that display behavior that might look like fun and glamarous -- binge drinking, casual sex and an insane amount of partying -- to a young viewer. I'm not anti-MTV, possibly because my children are way too young to even know it exists , and I'm realistic about what is on television in general and what our kids will be exposed to in the world. As a result, I'm at least encouraged to read that a majority of teens who have seen the program are getting the message that teenage parenting is anything but a walk in the park.

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