Research Paper: Teen Pregnancy
Adolescent pregnancy has long been a societal concern, but in the past decade, this issue has become one of the most frequently cited examples of the perceived societal decay in the United States. The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the western world with approximately 1 million adolescents becoming pregnant every year (National Women's Health Information Center). Teenagers are engaging in sexual activity, and at the same time they are choosing not to practice safe sex. Why are they partaking in such behavior? There are many reasons as to why teens are having sex such as love, media influence, poverty, and family. The result of this adolescent behavior is childbearing, which has many negative effects and most teens are unaware of them. A couple of these negative effects are lifestyle change and poverty. Adolescent pregnancies have an effect not only on the teen and her family, but it also has a universal effect on the United States as it has to spend tax dollars on social welfare. Anti-pregnancy campaigns need to be re-evaluated to reach adolescents and to prevent them from the hardships they will endure as a result of having a child at a young age. Focus adolescent services, an information and support web and phone service, states that sexual content is regularly marketed to younger children, pre-teens, and teens and this affects young people's sexual activity and beliefs about sex (par. 2). According to Michael Sutton, in his book Shaking the Tree of Knowledge for Forbidden Fruit: Where Adolescents Learn About Sexuality and Contraception, children are exposed to an overwhelming amount of content filled with sexual messages (25). He gives the following statistics: In 2003, 83% of the episodes of the top 20 shows among teen viewers contained some sexual content, including 20% with sexual intercourse. Forty-two percent of the songs on the top CDs in 1999 contained sexual content -- 19% included direct descriptions of sexual intercourse. On average, music videos contain 93 sexual situations per hour, including eleven "hard core" scenes depicting behaviors such as intercourse and oral sex. Girls who watched more than 14 hours of rap music videos per week were more likely to have multiple sex partners and to be diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease. Before parents raised an outcry, Abercrombie and Fitch marketed a line of thong underpants decorated with sexually provocative phrases such as "Wink Wink" and "Eye Candy" to 10-year-olds. Neilson estimates that 6.6 million children ages 2-11 and 7.3 million teens ages 12-17 watched Justin Timberlake rip open Janet Jackson's bodice during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show (25-55). A survey (given to teens 13 to 16 years old) administered by NBC News and People Magazine gave several more reasons as to why teens are having sex. These included: the teens had met the right person, were curious, hoped it would make their relationship closer, pressure from partner, wanted to be more popular and accepted, and to satisfy a sexual desire. Reasons such as curiosity and a desire for popularity cannot be completely helped; they are a symbol of today's society and how times have changed. It is said that if parents sit down with their child at a young age, inform them of the consequences but also give them different views of handling the situations teens will be more likely to not become pregnant. I do believe that if parents instill love and self-worth in their children at a young age, the children will not look for it in the opposite sex. The media holds large responsibility for today's youth participating in sexual activity. Shows that are geared towards pre-teens should have little (such as holding hands) to no sexual connotation.
The act of sex leads to pregnancy, but more specifically is the act of unprotected sex. In Daniel Hong's Why Do So Few Teens Use Protection, because I trust my partner, because it's not...
Bibliography: "Adolescent Pregnancy." Medical Encyclopedia Online. 2006. Medical Encyclopedia. 14 March 2007. < http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001516.htm#Definition>.
Frick, Lisa. "Teen Pregnancy and Parenting." School Library Journal. 53.3 (2007): 228-228. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. U of Tennessee, Hodges Lib., Knoxville, TN. 15 March 2007. .
The National Women 's Health Information Center, the Office of Women 's Health, HHS. 1998. Teen Pregnancy.
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