Do TV Shows Like "16 and Pregnant" Promote or Discourage Teen Pregnancy? Essay

Do TV Shows Like "16 and Pregnant" Promote or Discourage Teen Pregnancy?, 481 words essay example

Essay Topic:teen pregnancy

Dan'Chella Palmer
Ms. Hall
ELA 10
21 April 2016
Do TV Shows Like "16 and Pregnant" Promote or Discourage Teen Pregnancy?
The United States has 99 problems, and teen pregnancy is one. This has been a problem for many years. Young women, mostly from ages 15-19, have to become mothers before they are even ready. However, Hollywood has made millions of dollars off of this issue. Teen pregnancy has become a source of entertainment. Several television movies and shows are made about it, which have caused controversy about whether these shows promote or discourage teen pregnancy.
Many articles have been written about this issue. One that caught my attention was "Can Hollywood Trick You into Getting Pregnant?" from Seventeen. According to this article, shows, such as Gossip Girl and Secret Life of the American Teenager, 90210, include a lot of sex scenes, which encourages teenagers to have sex said by 55% of teen girls in 2010. However, these shows do not show any consequences of having sex, like STD's or pregnancy, which makes these shows very unrealistic. Meanwhile, shows, like 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, and movies, like Juno, show the real struggle of teen motherhood. Though, these shows also highlight the glamour of being on television this can persuade teenagers to want their life on television and makes teen motherhood a normality.
Another article that caught my eye was "MTV's 16 and Pregnant Led to fewer Teen Births" from CNN. This article implies that being a 16-year-old mother actually scares teen girls and pushes them to have safer sex or to wait to have sex. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, 16 and Pregnant actually helped lower the teen pregnancy rate by 5.7% within the first 18 months of the show's release. As the show's popularity progressed, the teen pregnancy rate seemingly decreased. A study shows that every year since the release of 16 and Pregnant, the teen pregnancy rate has decrease by 2.5%. This is not much, but some process is better than no progress.
Based on these two disagreeing articles, I think shows like 16 and Pregnant help discourage teen pregnancy. Despite that shows like Gossip Girl and 90210 have a lot of sex scenes, they do not necessarily encourage teenagers to have sex. Most teenagers used these shows as a source for advice about themselves and the how they should handle certain situations, especially when they do not have an older and more experienced person to confide to. Some parents say that 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom have mostly of scenes of the girls fighting with their boyfriends or getting new tattoos and body piercings. However, they also show how the girls do not get to go out with their friends as much as they want to, let alone the stress they put on their parents. This is what discourages teen pregnancy. Teenagers want to go out and have fun with their friends, not stay at home and take care of a baby.

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