An unfortunate high has been recorded in the North West for teen pregnancy since last year, doubling the count in 2011 of 4143 totaling an unbelievable 8676. These are the statistics given from the births from teen mothers, though the counts of exact pregnancies are undoubtedly higher with the unreleased number for terminated teen pregnancies. Among the teenage mother populace 13 percent of them contracted the HIV virus.
But is anyone really surprised? With MTV’s hit shows Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant, girls are learning that it pays to be irresponsible. The show makes parenting look easier than it is, and the girls on the show are given money, fame and the attention that most young girls crave.
“Reality television has continually been about exploiting people’s troubles and presuming they would do anything for notoriety,” states Rabbi Shmuely Boteach author of Kosher Sex. “But rousing adolescences’ to become expectant was an itinerary to celebrity? This manner of television is no longer just utilizes tribulations. It is now generating the tribulations.”
Beth Feldman, says it would be “appalling ” if teens are essentially getting pregnant for a television show. “Becoming a parent is an accountability that nobody should take frivolously, and for an adolescent to believe that a pregnancy could guide them to immediate notoriety and wealth is ridiculous. Parenting is a lifetime commitment and adolescences have their own lives ahead of them. Let them mature before they take the accountability of caring for another human being.”
Which then begs the question, what will happen to these teen mothers and their children after they are no longer teen mothers but instead just another mother of society? The money will stop and they will fade from the lime light and they will be there with the child they used to get that five minutes of stardom. Unfortunately for our society this is what we have taught out youth of today, stupid choices get you rewards. Pregnancy has become a fashionable fad, and the truth of the matter is that some girls are in fact getting pregnant on purpose so they can try out for MTV’s shows.
Malawi did a study in 2010 fiercely supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which shows a promising method to battle teen pregnancy and STIs along with it. The girls in Malawi have stopped having sex in exchange for money. Some have found this technique troublesome; teens should make the right decision without having to be paid. But the study shows a proven success where encouraging positive behavior is necessary with today’s youths. When in fact it is the same technique MTV’s shows are using only this way has the right and desired effect.
Bill and Melinda Gates foundation funded a two year randomized control trial that went over the effects of cash transfers on school girls who had admitted to being sexually active, during 2009 in Malawi. Four Thousand 12-22 year old girls were assigned to a treatment (control group) where they either received money or didn’t in exchange for attending school and reporting any sexual activity. They were given roughly 15 percent of monthly house hold expenses which was split up between the girl and her family.
After the first year the results became obvious that their system was working. The onset for sexual activity was 38 percent later for the younger treatment groups than the earlier rate for their older peers. The number of sexual partners was decreased by 25 percent less for the girls receiving their pay, the girls without incentive remained the same. The probability of becoming pregnant was reduced to 40 percent in school girls who had originally dropped out before the study. A world bank review of the study concluded that the cash led to declines in the onset of the girls’ sexual activity and declines in risky behavior among the girls already sexually active.
We can send our youths to programs, update studies in health classes and even become more involved at home, but when it comes down to it they are going to do whatever they want. As parents you can pass along all your wisdoms and hope for the best, but you can’t watch them one hundred percent of the time. Whatever the method, the goal is the same, lower teen pregnancy.
Written By: KyAuna Alonzo