The Real Issue|
A big issue Americans are dealing with is teenage pregnancies. There are different factors that contribute to this. At the micro-level the biggest overall factor is poverty levels. Many teenagers use contraceptives and still get pregnant. “If I use a condom I won’t get pregnant, right?” Wrong. The reason for this is because even though the condom was used, it may have been used improperly or was torn. Many low-income families and minority groups “receive little accurate information about the use of, and problems associated with, contraception (Kendall, 2011). Many teenagers, however, do not use contraceptives. One reason why this might be is because of the level of influence the media has on our society. In 1988, on average, Americans watched TV seven hours a day. Teenagers watched 24 hours of TV a week and listened to 18.5 hours of music a week (Lynn & Bernards, 1988). Other forms of media include advertising, films, magazines, and music. Another micro-level factor is that some teenagers view pregnancy as a way to gain adult status. This is called a subjective reality. BACKGROUND
Teenage pregnancy has not always been such a big issue as it is today. The big problem before was unmarried mothers, age was not important. One reason why, is because many males and females had completed their education by age 15 or 16 (Farber, 2003). If a girl did become pregnant, the families pushed for marriage. As long as the family could be supported, the public saw no problems. In the past 30 years views on teenage sexual activity, pregnancy, and parenting have dramatically changed. Our society is now very open-minded and accepting about teen pregnancy.
The theoretical perspective that teenage pregnancy best fits under is symbolic interactionist perspective. The technical definition of this perspective is that society is the sum of the interactions of individual and groups. Symbols play a big part in society as well as interactions. Many teenagers interpret a subjective reality when it comes to sex or that kind of thing. That is why many times sexual activity result in unplanned pregnancies. Males interpret things differently than females do. One thing that really influences us today is our media. From an early age we watch how other people interact and by doing that we see how we should act or rather, how we think we should act. Many times on television, shows will portray two people kissing and sometimes even in bed together. Most times they don’t show the use of a contraceptive or birth control. Too often teens don’t realize the importance of a contraceptive if they don’t want to end up pregnant (Kendall, 2011). Real life experience
In Ben Hill County, teenage pregnancy rates are through the roof. If you walk down the halls at the local high school chances are you will see at least one girl that is pregnant. In 2009, 119.9 girls out of 1,000 had children as a teenager (G-CAAP). A personal case in regard to this topic is that my brother is a teen father. My brother was 18 and his girlfriend was 16 when they had their son, Jayden. This is the perfect example of a stereotypical teen pregnancy. The girlfriend comes from a large family(about 8 siblings) and a very poor family. They are on the verge, if not extremely over the line of being trashy. Her mother was a teen mother as well and was perfectly okay with letting my brother spend the night at her house with her daughter. There was an extreme lack of parenting on her part, which led to the pregnancy and the child she is now technically the parent to. Her daughter and my brother wanted to act like adults but did not want to take responsibility for their actions. A big misconception or subject reality is that once you have a child you will have adult status. To legally be recognized as an adult you must be 18 years of age. Maturity level is a big part of adulthood as well. My nephew is 8 months old now, but his chances at a good life are next to none. He will most likely have breathing problems due to secondhand smoke inhalation. Possibly have a weak immune system and be prone to bug infested infections or malnutrition.
Farber, N. (2003). Adolescent Pregnancy: Policy and Prevention Services. New York: Springer Publisher. G-CAAP. (n.d.). Georgia Teen Pregnancy Data. Retrieved September 20, 2011, from Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention: http://www.gcapp.org/county-data Kendall, D. (2011). Sociology in our times (8th ed.). Belmont: Wadsworth Cengage Learning. Lynn, H., & Bernards, N. (1988). Teenage Sexuality: Opposing viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.
[ 1 ]. Statistic for Ben Hill County, Ga.