By Kelsey Pinault (University of Miami)
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After two seasons (with a third one already in the works) and a show documenting some of the girls after the pregnancy, MTV knows what their target audience likes to see. My question is, what is this show doing for these teens and the one’s who watch it?
I’ll be the first to say I am so excited to one day have a family of my own. That being said, I am nowhere near ready to be a mother at 20. I think it’s safe to say that the greater amount of teen girls and definitely a high percentage of teen boys mirror my lack of enthusiasm to become a parent.
With the first season, it seemed like MTV was aiming to bring a show to the public that could shed light on the real issue that some girls do unfortunately face in high school. However by now the extreme success of the show makes me wonder what effect it has on young girls.
Some have begun to argue that this shows has influenced teens to get pregnant at a young age after seeing other girls their age seemed willing and able in their situation. So, I decided to do a little research.
The United States is, in fact, the country with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world. One state facing major issues with this statistic is Michigan. Last week Wood TV reported that high schools in the state are deciding whether letting teen moms bring their newborns to school is the best idea or not, with two counties that already have high schools with day-care programs. Some feel that students bringing their cute and cuddly babies to school gives other teens the wrong image about teen pregnancy as the mothers get attention.
2006 was the first time in 15 years there was an increase in teen pregnancy rates rather than a decrease. Two years later a small town high school in Massachusetts learned they had a pregnancy pact when seventeen girls no older than 16 were all pregnant at the same time.
So is it shows like 16 and Pregnant or movies like Juno that are influencing more and more teens to get pregnant at their young and naïve age, or should it be blamed on the hesitance to provide teenagers with proper sexual education and means to contraceptives?