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Why 'Teen Mom' Should Be Shown in Schools

Posted by on Jan. 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM
  • 4 Replies

Why 'Teen Mom' Should Be Shown in Schools

by Sasha Brown-Worsham

teen momMTV's shows Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant have been vilified on a national stage as glorifying teen pregnancy. Mayors have said the shows can't film in their towns because of the way it "encourages" teenage pregnancy. And yet, statistics released this week reveal something else entirely: Teen Mom is actually REDUCING the number of pregnancies that are happening among teens.

In other words: This is birth control, people. It's the best sexual education out there.

The National Bureau of Economic Research looked at Nielsen television ratings and compared them to birth records. They found that in areas where teens watched more MTV in the period after 16 and Pregnant debuted, the teen pregnancy rate declined faster than it did in other areas where that is not true. Additionally, when the show was airing, searches for birth control online went up. Is that crazy or what?

As a mom, there is NO doubt in my mind that I would use this show as birth control. It really is. Anyone who has ever watched it knows that what it shows is the reality of teen motherhood. It shows the way relationships fall apart, the way dreams become harder to make come true. It shows how school and friendships go on the back burner and how your life is no longer your own.

No one in their right mind would WANT to get pregnant after watching it. Even if it meant possibly getting on MTV.

The truth is, there is not much out there that shows the reality of parenthood. As a mom in my 30s, I have watched the show and related. But I had my fun and my youth and my college days and my selfish days. I would think teens would be struck by seeing how quickly their lives would get handed over to someone else.

Once you become a mom, that's it. That's the end of the selfishness and ability to move around your life freely. If you want to move to Nepal for a year, that sure isn't going to happen if you have a baby unless you also want to drag along diapers and a jet lagged toddler.

Parenthood can wait. It changes everything and no one knows this better than the Teen Moms themselves. Jeanne Sager of The Stir spoke exclusively with some of them when they were in New York on January 13. Leah Calvert says she plans to use the show to educate her own three daughters:

Even though there's things that I don't like or things that's embarrassing, things that I really hate for them to see between me and their father, I feel like [Teen Mom] will show them these are the consequences that happen when you have kids at a young age.


The show speaks to kids at their own level. It portrays the truth about a difficult subject, and it's not made by adults trying to talk down to teens or lecture them. Remember those "flour baby" extra credit projects that tried to teach teens how hard it is to be a parent? Yes? This is better. 

If the show only kept running because of this, it would be worth it.

Do you think Teen Mom is effective birth control?

by on Jan. 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM
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by Susie on Jan. 17, 2014 at 2:09 PM
Shows train wrecks. Not just teen moms. I would hope no one would wanna be like these girls ever. My girls think the same as me.
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by Donnie's Mom on Jan. 17, 2014 at 5:13 PM
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I definitely do not think this show is effective birth control. Some of these girls have had yet another baby or have been pregnant again. Hell, one has twins, and she has a 3rd child, so they don't really make it seem too difficult.
by Silver Member on Jan. 18, 2014 at 12:48 PM

I think it can be. Teens are more likely to learn from their peers. And seeing these girls thinking like teens do that everything will work out perfectly, and then it doesn't - the guy doesn't stick around like he promised, taking care of a baby is harder than they imagined, they miss out on fun times with friends - it's much more effective than parents or teachers telling them this will happen. But it's not going to prevent teen pregnancy 100%, because some girls don't have the support system at home, their emotional needs are going unmet, things that make them vulnerable to the type of decisions that lead to teen pregnancy.

by Kimberly on Jan. 18, 2014 at 8:54 PM
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I don't, actually.    I've watched a few seasons, and I don't see where having babies really affected the teens.    The series seems to focus more on the teen relationships than the babies.       

Chelsea had a baby, didn't graduate....and Daddy moved her into her own home, with her new car and treats her and her friends to concerts and hotel stays.     

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