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UNIVERSITY OF THE SOUTHERN CARIBBEAN
MARACAS ROYAL ROAD, MARACAS, ST. JOSEPH.

A Research Essay

An Assignment
Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Course
ENGL215-04 ENGLISH COMPOSITION II

INSTRUCTOR: Ms. Shelley Lyons

By

Kareese Spann

2 December 2014

Approval……………….
ABSTRACT
This essay looked at how the environment influences teenage pregnancy in the United States. The purpose of this essay is to identify how preeminent teenage pregnancy has become in teens ages fourteen and up, how famous it has become in the United States and how the majority of teens do not finish their education after becoming pregnant. The sources used in this essay provide the necessary information needed for readers to understand why and how a teenagers environment has become influential for them becoming pregnant. Teenage pregnancy is affecting teens by them to drop out of school and not finish their education which later results in a limited amount of choices when choosing a career.

OUTLINE
THESIS: The social life of teenagers influences teenage pregnancy through pressure from peers, too much access to the media and lack of sex education from parents and teachers in the United States.
I. Peer pressure in the United States is the major factor influencing teenage pregnancy in the U.S. A. During adolescence, teenagers often feel pressure to make friends and fit in with their peers. B. Many times these teens let their friends influence their decision to have sex. C. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that more than 29 percent of pregnant teens reported that they felt pressured to have sex.
II. Excessive access to the media plays an important role in teenage pregnancy A. In the U.S today, the majority of teens have access to phones, tablets and computers which makes it simple to access the media B. Television shows does increase teens becoming pregnant because it gives off an image of being “famous” which teens find cool at their age.
III. Lack of sex education from parents and teachers allows teens to become pregnant. A. Teens today have unlimited access to sexual information. B. Today’s youth are better served by consulting a variety of Web sites especially those allowing interactive responses, than they are relying on politically whipped schools to provide accurate information on sexuality.

INTRODUCTION
Teenage Pregnancy: The Influence of the Environment

Statistics show that despite the deduction in rates of teenage pregnancy in the United States, about 820,000 teens become pregnant each year, which means that 34 percent of teenagers have at least one pregnancy before the age of twenty. Teenage pregnancy is defined as a situation which involves female adolescents becoming pregnant as early as age twelve or thirteen, although it is usually fourteen and older in the United States. The fact that teenagers become pregnant is related to many factors. These are related to the specific situation of the teenager, and the group that she interacts with. The rates of teenage pregnancy vary from country to country and are related to differences of sexual activities, the general sex educations being provided and contraceptives being available. In a developed country such as the United States, teenage pregnancies are often associated with social issues, including lower educational levels, higher rates of poverty, and other poorer life outcomes in children of teenage mothers. Teenage pregnancy in developed countries is usually outside of marriage, and carries a social stigma in many communities and cultures. The social life of teenagers influences teenage pregnancy through pressure from peers, too much access to the media and lack of sex education from parents and teachers in the United States.
The social life of teenagers influences teenage pregnancy through pressure from peers in the United States. Peer pressure is defined as the social pressure by members of one’s peer group to take a certain action, adopt certain values, or otherwise conform in order to be accepted. “Adults often underestimate, or choose to ignore, just how much influence children exert over their peers and this influence becomes ever more pervasive as children go through their teen years, struggling to shape their own world views apart from (and often in contrast to) their childhood authority figures,” [Abate, Catherine M. Fighting Teenage Pregnancy with Peer Influence. Huff Post New York. 31 May, 2013.] Catherine Abate goes on to state that teens refuse to go to the adults in their lives whom they have come to dismiss as patronizing and clueless with a topic as embarrassing as sex. Young adults mostly go to older siblings and or their peers for advice. Abate speaks about a teen- to- teen program which has successfully reached out to 2500 of teens. She states “at the end of the day, all that matters is that teens not only have access to the information and health services that can help them prevent unintended pregnancy, but that they do not feel judged or "uncool" when they do access these services. We should not ignore the importance of peer influence in our efforts to reach teens rather; we should take advantage of it and turn it into yet another tool that will help us reduce unintended teen pregnancies in New York City to a number much closer to zero,” [Abate, Catherine M. Fighting Teenage Pregnancy with Peer Influence. Huff Post New York. 31 May, 2013.] During adolescence, teenagers often feel pressure to make friends and fit in with their peers. Many times these teens let their friends influence their decision to have sex even when they do not fully understand the consequences associated with the act. According to R. Y. Langham, “teenagers have sex as a way to appear cool and sophisticated, but in some cases the end result is an unplanned teen pregnancy. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that more than 29 percent of pregnant teens reported that they felt pressured to have sex, and 33 percent of pregnant teens stated that they felt that they were not ready for a sexual relationship, but proceeded,” [Langham, R. Y. “What are the causes of Teenage Pregnancy?” Live Strong.com. 16 Aug, 2013.] The social life of teenagers influences teenage pregnancy through them having too much access to the media in the United States. In the U.S today, the majority of teens have access to phones, tablets and computers which makes it simple to access the media for whatever they desire. The internet also allows teenagers eyes to roam wild and give them easy access to delete what they have searched for so parents cannot find it. Television shows also have a role to play when it comes to teenage pregnancy due to the kind of information being obtained by teens. “A study conducted by researchers at Indiana University published found the that reality series 16 and Pregnant and its spinoff show, Teen Mom, lead viewers to think that teen mothers have an enviable quality of life,” [Dockterman, E. “Does 16 and Pregnant Prevent or Promote Teenage Pregnancy” 13 Jan. 2014. 3 Nov. 2014.] 16 and Pregnant was originally designed by MTV to show viewers, mostly young women, what life as a pregnant teen was really like and that teens should enjoy their teen years and avoid the responsibilities that come with too-early pregnancy and parenting. However, after the show became a hit drawing up to up two million viewers’ parents and educators worried that 16 and Pregnant glamorized teen pregnancy. “One review of the show by the Media Research Center, which offers a guide for appropriate television to parents, reads. And the fact that many of the show’s stars become celebrities in their own right — gracing the cover of People magazine — doesn’t hurt the impression that having a child while in high school is one way to get attention,” [Dockterman, E. Does 16 and Pregnant Prevent or Promote Teenage Pregnancy. 13 Jan. 2014. 3 Nov. 2014.] I believe that the television shows does increase teens becoming pregnant because it gives off an image of being “famous” which teens find cool at their age. “The question that has been debated by parents, psychologists and media critics for years is whether such racy content has an adverse effect on young viewers. Now researchers at the Rand Corp. say they have documented for the first time how such exposure can influence teen pregnancy rates. They found that teens exposed to the most sexual content on TV are twice as likely as teens watching less of this material to become pregnant before they reach age 20,” [Park, A. Sex on T.V increases Teen Pregnancy 3 Nov. 2009. 3 Nov. 2014.]
The social life of teenagers influences teenage pregnancy through lack of sex education from parents and teachers in the United States. “It is time for progressives to pursue much more promising modern developments. Conservatives have lost their battle to deny young people information. Teens today have unlimited access to sexual information that, fortunately, adults cannot effectively obstruct. There are now hundreds of Internet Web sites of every kind providing information on sexuality and 90 percent-plus of teens have Internet access. Today’s youth are better served by consulting a variety of Web sites especially those allowing interactive responses, than they are relying on politically whipped schools to provide accurate information on sexuality,” [Males, Mike A. Teenage Sex and Pregnancy. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. 2010.] Parents and teachers today find it somewhat embarrassing to speak to teens about the use of contraceptives and that having children at such a young age changes their lives so quickly. I believe that if parents took more time in speaking to their teens about the topic there will be a change and also if teachers have different programs and lectures for teen boys and girls to go to it will influence them to use contraceptives during sexual intercourse. I believe that the most important thing parents and teachers can do is to say the first few words, be honest and open, listen carefully to find out what the teens already understand. “young women speak about pupils needing more knowledge, specifically, information about different forms of contraception other than condoms and the pill information about where they can access contraception, and information about sexually transmitted infections,” [Vincent, Kerry. Schoolgirl Pregnancy, Motherhood Education: Dealing with Difference. United Kingdom. Trentham Books. 2012.] teens do not only need parents and teachers to talk to them about sex, they need to become enlightened on the wide variety of contraceptives they can use to prevent becoming pregnant in their teenage years. Despite what parents may think, they have an enormous influence on their children’s decisions about sex. More than two decades of high quality research, supplemented by recent public opinion polls, point to the same conclusion: the quality of parents’ relationships with their teenagers can make a real difference in the decisions that their children make about sex.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, it can be stated that a teens social life influences teenage pregnancy through pressure from peers, having too much access to the media and lack of sex education from parents and teachers in the United States. The U.S ranks the highest when it comes to the amount of teens becoming pregnant yearly. Pressure for peers is the only one of the major contributions to teenage pregnancy mainly because teens refuse to go to the adults in their lives whom they have come to dismiss as patronizing and clueless with a topic as embarrassing as sex and choose to go to older siblings and or their peers for advice. Another factor which influences teenage pregnancy is teens having too much access to the media. As teens today especially in the United States have way too much access to the media and are able to access what they want whenever they want. Television shows also play an important part when it comes to influencing teens, reality shows with “famous” pregnant teens act as role models for teens in society. Lastly lack of sex education from both parents and teachers contributes to teens becoming pregnant. Parents and teachers need to talk to teens more about teenage sex and also provide them with the information on contraceptives and how important it is. If all these influences of teenage pregnancy is reduced there is a good chance teenage pregnancy will decrease in time to come.

WORKS CITED
Abate, Catherine M. Fighting Teenage Pregnancy with Peer Influence. Huff Post New York. 31 May 2013.
Dockterman, E. “Does 16 and Pregnant Prevent or Promote Teenage Pregnancy” 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 3 Nov. 2014.
Langham, R. Y. What are the causes of Teenage Pregnancy? Live Strong. 16 Aug. 2013.
Males, Mike A. Teenage Sex and Pregnancy. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. 2010.
Park, A. Sex on T.V increases Teen Pregnancy 3 Nov. 2009. Web.3 Nov. 2014.
Vincent, Kerry. Schoolgirl Pregnancy, Motherhood Education: Dealing with Difference. Trentham Books. 2012.

Cited: Abate, Catherine M. Fighting Teenage Pregnancy with Peer Influence. Huff Post New York. 31 May 2013. Dockterman, E. “Does 16 and Pregnant Prevent or Promote Teenage Pregnancy” 13 Jan. 2014. Web. 3 Nov. 2014. Langham, R. Y. What are the causes of Teenage Pregnancy? Live Strong. 16 Aug. 2013. Males, Mike A. Teenage Sex and Pregnancy. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. 2010. Park, A. Sex on T.V increases Teen Pregnancy 3 Nov. 2009. Web.3 Nov. 2014. Vincent, Kerry. Schoolgirl Pregnancy, Motherhood Education: Dealing with Difference. Trentham Books. 2012.

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