Mom and Dad get a Big Assist from MTV in the Battle against Teen Pregnancy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 18th, 2014

Week in Review

Parents can’t tell their kids anything.  For they know everything.  Thankfully for parents they got a little help from MTV.  Who kids will listen to even when they won’t listen to their parents (see Study: US reality shows contributed to record decline in teen pregnancy by Nicholas Tufnell, wired.co.uk, posted 1/13/2014 on ars technica).

A study from Wellesley College and the University of Maryland finds that MTV’s Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant contributed to a record decline in US teen pregnancy…

In an effort to find the “causal effect of specific media content on teen childbearing rates,” Kearney and Levine began an empirical investigation by studying Nielsen ratings (a US audience measurement system) as well as data, trends and metrics from Google and Twitter. The researchers then examined the impact on teen birth rates using Vital Statistics Natality microdata.

The figures revealed that Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant often had extremely high ratings and a very dedicated following, causing many to search and discuss the themes explored on the shows. Specifically, searches and tweets on birth control and abortion spiked each time the show was broadcast, particularly in areas where it was popular.

Teen abortion rates also fell over this period, which Levine and Kearney see as further evidence that the shows are partly responsible for a reduction in pregnancies.

How about that?  MTV got something many have failed to do.  To get kids to listen to their parents.  For the fall in teen pregnancies AND the fall in teen abortions means one of two things.  Either kids acting irresponsibly in spreading STDs with active sex lives got more responsible when it came to birth control.  Or they are just having less sex.  Like Mom and Dad would have tried everything within their powers to get them to do.  And here’s a television show that Mom and Dad no doubt couldn’t stand tipping that argument in their favor.  Thank you MTV.  For telling our kids that Mom and Dad were right all along.

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