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TV Question: Should “Teen Mom” Be Required Viewing

TeenMomMTV’s “Teen Mom” follows up on four teenage girls from last summer’s unexpected hit “16 and Pregnant.” “Teen Mom” premiered last week and the second episode airs on MTV tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern Time/9 p.m. Central.

One mission of social workers is helping parents, including teenage mothers (Go to the National Association of Social Workers “Help Starts Here” Healthy Parenting Web page for more information). That  leads to today’s question:

Q: The United States has the highest teen pregancy rate in the industrialized world. Do you think programs such as “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” are an ideal way to show teenagers the realities of pregnancy and parenting?

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  1. I thought it provided equal balance of the positives and negatives….but the truth is, the glamor that was highlighted is enough to influence any vulnerable teen into considering delving into a lifestyle of parenthood.

    Not to mention, the accessibility of web-cams and video phones to this new generation. We are living in an extremely sexualized society, no matter the pros and cons. Learning to live healthily in such a world is going to be a challenge and social workers are going to have to step up their approaches and create sensible alternatives to practices that carry the same old nonsensical biases.

    The bottom line is, what hurts young people is what is or is not taught at home. For most of the people that I have ever supported in the field, the majority of the issues stem from the home environment. Therefore MTV or shows on pregnancy are not the culprit and/or responsible party in this case. The young person’s caretakers are.

  2. I think MTV does a good job :) It shows teens about other teens differences, and allows teens to see teen pregnancy as (1) a real possibility and (2) allows teens to develop kinder and less judgmental views on teenagers who get pregnant, and then (gasp) actually choose to have their babies :)

  3. The recent survey of 1,800 people age 18 to 29 conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, found that there is a huge gap in what young people understand about sex. They misunderstand the anatomy and physiology of sex and conception as well as how to use proper protection. However, at the same time, most sexually active young people in the study agreed that pregnancies should be planned–agreeing that parenting is hard or demonstrating it by having them watch the show is not the answer, I believe the majority already know that.

    What they need to know is how not to get pregnant, how to use contraception and how to take care of their bodies–this television show doesn’t accomplish that.

  4. This just makes me think of that Marshall McLuhan theory, where “The medium is the message.” It’s hard to give much social merit to something on MTV. Ultimately their goal is to entertain.

  5. I had watched a few shows of “16 and Pregnant” and felt it was a horrible show. It completely made it look like it was just fine to get pregnant in high school and everything would work out okay. The “hard” times that teens experienced were nothing like what my teenage clients actually experience. The show was a walk in the park compared to reality. I’m sorry but if you cannot support a baby then you shouldn’t be having one.

  6. I think American needs CLEAR sexual education courses in the schools that do not just rely on abstinence. It is disgusting to keep such pertinent info from our youth. Using shame, fear, or guilt DOES NOT WORK for most and apalls me. Other countries give their teens the option to use condoms, birth control, morning after pill, etc. Teens are capable of making their own choices, and they do so every single day.

  7. I was 17 and pregnant and it’s not easy but I give my son the best life possible. My husband I’ve had here every step of the way he’s a great dad! He is 21 I am now 18 and I can truthfully say we do a damn good job together and understand our son Ashton is our resposibiliy. We love him like no tomorrow :) we both work while my mother takes care of him for 4hrs a day while I work:) I can’t be away from him. I think these girls are to immature to see what they have. Take it as a blessing. Not a mistake

  8. I was 17 when I got pregnant and the baby’s father is not around whatsoever. And I believe if this show was on a long time ago it would of lowered teen pregnancies. But some teen pregnancices aren’t alway the mothers’ fault. The mother could have been raped by her boyfriend at the time and found out she was pregnant 3 months later, and had to do it by her self. Teens will still have sex but I believe they would be more careful about it, if this show was on a long time ago. I still would gotten pregnant but some other teens wouldn’t. I’m good to my daughter and I love her to death, so in a way I’m kinda happy for what my boyfriend did to me cause I got the most amazing and wonderful best thing thats every happened to me. I can’t imagine life with out her now.

  9. This seems to be a good glimpse at what goes on with being a teenage mother. Motherhood is often “over glamorized” to the young, and it is refreshing to see a day to day account on events that occur throughout a young mothers day.

    In terms of examples of good parenting on the show, much credit is due to Caitlyne and Tyler who gave their child up for adoption. They are the only two that seem mature enough to handle parenting, and should be so proud of the choices that they made. i am proud of them, and if I ever had the opportunity to say it to them I would tell them that they had handled things the way I hoped my children would, they are full of grace, love, and have a great sense of right and wrong. their parents may not support them, but they are the only ones in my eyes that made the right decision.

    Well done guys. you should be so proud of yourselves, I know I am proud of you.

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