WEEN Online Blog

Link Between T.V. & Teen Pregnancy

Posted on: November 6, 2008


Have you heard about the “Juno Effect”? It’s a term that mostly states that teens (mostly teen girls) are influenced by the media and its fascination with pregnancy, whether teen moms (like Jamie Lynn Spears) or pregnancy shown on popular TV shows/movies (like Lifetime’s “Fifth Teen and Pregnant”). Ever since the news broke out about the 17 teenage girls from Massachusetts who made a pact to be pregnant, people have been blaming the media, television and movies for its high level of sexual contents. Claiming that too much sex has caused teens to have sex and become parents.

According to CNN.com, a new study shows that teenagers (both male and female), who are exposed to “television shows with sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone as those who saw fewer programs of this kind over a period of three years.” Because teens and adolescents watch so much television and teen pregnancy in the U.S. is an epidemic, researched decided to see if there is a link between the two. They used 23 shows that show sexual content and surveyed teens about how often they watched them. From there, the link between television and teen pregnancy began.

Because most television shows rarely show the risk of having sex, without knowledge from their parents, teachers, guardians or peers, teens are not likely to know the pros and cons of sex and the outcome (pregnancy, becoming a parent, financially supporting the child). Studies show that teens exposed to sexual content have a higher risk of actually having sex that following year. However RAND’s research also states “content that includes negative consequences, such as sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, can be educational for teens.”

Although the study may have a point as to why teens are becoming mothers and fathers too early in life, they often leave the parents out. Those kinds of studies makes it seem like the television is the parent or that teens don’t have enough confidence and self-worth in their selves to make the right decision on whether to have sex or not. Twenty-seven year old Sandy Tomlinson, featured in the CNN article, feels that if she had more parental guidance as teen, she would not have had become a teen mom, “I feel that if my parents would have been more involved in my life that I would have made different choices” .

Ashley-Nicole Weatherington


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