MTV’s ’16 & Pregnant’ Prevented Teen Pregnancies

Study Shows: MTV's '16 & Pregnant' Prevented 20000 Teen Pregnancies

Helpful or hurtful?

It’s often written off as trash television, reality TV at it’s worst, and a hugely bad example for teen girls, but new evidence is surfacing that MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” and it’s “Teen Mom” spinoffs have actually prevented teen pregnancies. We’re not talking just a few, either, we’re talking more than 20,000 teen pregnancies, if the research is actually right. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

The new study

A new survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research says that these popular and sometimes controversial television shows have reduced the teenage birthrate by nearly 6 percent in the year 2010 alone. Even more interesting?

The rate of teenage births declined more in areas where teens watched any MTV programming, not just “16 and Pregnant”, than in areas where teens did not watch MTV. “It’s thrilling, said Sarah S. Brown, the chief executive of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unerplanned Pregnancy, a nonprofit group in Washington. “People just don’t understand how influential media is in the lives of young people.”

A bad example?

Many critics argue that the shows actually glamourize teen pregnancy, since many of the young mothers from the show have used it as a “crutch” to help them find some sort of fame. “Teen Mom” alum Farrah Abraham has had numerous plastic surgeries, made and widely distributed a sex tape, and is now appearing on the VH1 reality series “Couples Therapy”.

Jenelle Evans, who does not have custody of her son, Jace, has been in and out of jail for drug abuse and assault, among other charges, and has been pregnant on more than one occasion since appearing on the show. There are several of the “16 and Pregnant” moms who are regular tabloid fodder, so, is the show setting a good example?

A cautionary tale

Experts say that although some of the teen moms are struggling, viewers see their stories as cautionary tales, as in what not to do. The show depicts the hardships of pregnancy and teenage motherhood, following the moms through everything from morning sickness, to financial trouble, family problems, absent boyfriends, trouble with the law, drug abuse, and more.

It shows that most of these young ladies do not finish high school, do not go onto college, do not get their dream jobs, do not get married (or stay married), etc. Instead of being a bad example, many experts think that by showing the good and the bad parts of teen motherhood, the shows may actually be deterring teen girls from getting pregnant, by facing a taboo topic head on.

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Dr. Christine Lee, MD
Dr. Christine Lee, MD | ConceiveEasy
Dr. Christine Lee earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Biology and Master of Science in Biomolecular Organization. Dr. Lee is Lab Director for ConceiveEasy and is board certified as a High Complexity Laboratory Director (HCLD).