Sex Education Debate

Topics: Teenage pregnancy, Human sexual behavior, Pregnancy Pages: 6 (2005 words) Published: April 2, 2013
Educate Them
In the debate over sex education, one thing is undeniable: the average kid today is immersed in sexual imagery. A generation that has grown up on the sordid details of the Starr Report, watched thong-clad teens gyrate on Spring Break cable specials, or see the cover of virtually any women’s magazine in the grocery checkout line is familiar with the facts of life. Young people face a barrage of confusing messages. Along with titillating images from the media, some kids are told to “just say no” to sex. Kids are becoming more sexually active at an earlier age. Adolescents usually derive information on sex and related subjects from sources like friends, books, the media comprising advertising, television, magazines and the internet. The problem is that these sources may or may not provide them correct and accurate information. As such, sex education will help in transferring authentic information, and in the process also correct any misinformation that they may have apart from adding to their already existing knowledge. Sexual education needs to be imparted at the numerous school levels and home to educate youth on the important facts about sex such as pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, contraceptives, peer pressures of having sex, and various other issues. Even though the teen pregnancy rate has declined over the past few decades, the fact of the matter is that the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of the Western industrialized world (Guttmacher). It is true that the teen pregnancy and birth rate was much higher prior to 1980 (and especially in the 1950s and 1960s), but at the time young women were getting married and having children before the age of twenty. Most of the teen pregnancies occurring before 1980 were to married women; now most of today's teen mothers are unwed. Of the approximately seven hundred fifty thousand teen pregnancies that occur each year, eighty-two percent are unintended, fifty-nine percent end in birth, and more than one-quarter end in abortion (Barber). Most teenagers do not plan to get pregnant, but many do. Teen pregnancies carry extra health risks to the mother and baby. Most individuals and couples want to plan the timing and spacing of their childbearing and avoid unintended pregnancies, for a range of social and economic reasons. In addition, untended pregnancy has a public health impact: births resulting from unintended or closely spaced pregnancies are associated with adverse maternal and child health outcomes, such as delayed prenatal care, premature birth and negative physical and mental health effects for children. Often, teenagers do not receive timely prenatal care, and they have a higher risk for pregnancy-related high blood pressure and its complications. Risks for the baby include premature birth and a low birth weight. Teen pregnancy has been called an "epidemic" and a national emergency. Stereotypes of teen parents abound are that most are uneducated, irresponsible, abusive, immoral, and destined to a life of poverty. Milos Pesic is a single father and expert in the field of parenting who runs a highly popular and comprehensive parenting web site. In terms of education, teen parenting has become socially accepted for teenage mothers to stay in school. Unfortunately, an alarming eighty percent of them either choose or feel the need to drop out, and only fifty percent of teenage parents who had their first child during the early teenage years will finish high school before they reach thirty (Pesic). The result of this situation is that the children of these teenage parents exhibit lower cognitive development compared to their peers. These children have the tendency to become underachievers academically and are more likely to become school drop outs, too. Teen parenting statistics also point out that kids start to engage in sex earlier than most of their peers, and have a higher tendency to repeat their parent's past of becoming teenage parents....

Cited: Barber JS, Axinn WG and Thornton A, Unwanted childbearing, health, and mother-child
relationships, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 1999, 40(3):231–257.
Lederman, Regina P., and Tahir S. Mian. "The Parent-Adolescent Relationship Education
(PARE) Program: A Curriculum For Prevention Of STDs And Pregnancy In Middle School Youth." Behavioral Medicine 29.1 (2003): 33-41
Bullough, Vern L. 1976. Sexual Variance in Society and History. Chicago: University of
Chicago Press
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