An Indiana University study revealed that teenagers are not discouraged about having children after watching reality shows featuring teen moms.
In fact, Nicole Martins, an assistant professor of telecommunications at Indiana University Bloomington, and Robin Jensen, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Utah said that after interviewing 185 teenagers (who are avid viewers of reality shows about teen moms), the consensus was that teens thought parenting was “easy” after watching these shows.
The Business Standard on Friday reported that
“heavy viewers of teen mom reality programs were more likely to think that teen moms have a lot of time to themselves, can easily find child care so that they can go to work or school and can complete high school than were lighter viewers of such shows.”
For teens who may be considering having children, it seems likely that watching these shows “heavily” would only strengthen their resolve. Unfortunately, “reality” shows are not real and are actually “scripted, edited and put together in a purposeful way to create a narrative and a drama,” said Nicole Martins.
In 2011, Lauren Dolgen, the creator of MTV’s “16 And Pregnant,” “Teen Mom” and “Teen Mom 2” wrote a piece for CNN, addressing critics that said these shows “glamorize” teen pregnancy.
She condescendingly wrote,
“Some critics say these shows glamorize teen pregnancy. Some have even suggested that by airing these programs MTV inspires copycat behavior. Forgive the analogy, but this is like claiming people are becoming obese for a chance at fame on a reality weight-loss show.”
It should be noted that Jennifer Del Rio (pictured) of 16 & Pregnant is featured in this Hollywood Life article, which breathlessly reports that the reality television star is expecting her third child. It does not seem (at all) that the author, Kristine Hope Kowalski, discourages teen pregnancy.
A report at the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy acknowledged that “research has documented an association between exposure to sexual content on television and teen pregnancy.” But the study they cite found that “82% think that the show [MTV’s 16 & Pregnant] helps teens better understand the challenges of teen pregnancy and parenthood.”
Some interesting findings from that study include:
- “Most teens (65% of girls and 57% of boys) who have had sex say they wish they had waited.”
- “The overwhelming majority of teens (87%) and adults (93%) agree that it is important for teens to be given a strong message that they should not have sex until they are at least out of high school.”
The Indiana University study author Martins opined that these perceptions “might increase the likelihood that they’ll engage in unsafe sexual practices…” Of course, it does not take an academic study to come to that conclusion. It is only common sense.
Politically speaking, it seems that the left faces quite a dilemma. While outlets like Planned Parenthood openly mock encouraging abstinence as a solution, the left also doesn’t want teens to be “punished” with a baby. Yet, the media encourages teens to have sex by relentlessly glorifying loveless sex in the mainstream media.
The solution it seems would be to stop diminishing sex through the promotion of casual sex. It all boils down to culture, and yes, the mainstream media influences the culture, not just in the United States, but around the globe.
To illustrate that while casual sex is promoted, having children is discouraged, consider this “ad council” commercial. It seeks to “prevent teen pregnancy and unplanned pregnancy among single, young adults.” The ad council, by the way, is a “private, non-profit organization” that seeks to “deliver critical messages to the American public.”