pregnant teens can now blame TV

Finally–an answer to the question, “Why do Americans experience such a high rate of teen pregnancy?” 
It’s TV’s fault! 
At least, that’s the claim of a recent study linking teen pregnancy to shows like “Sex and the City,” “Friends” and “That 70’s Show.” (The data were collected a few years ago, hence the slightly dated TV shows). 
According to the lead researcher of the study, “Watching this kind of sexual content on television is a powerful factor in increasing the likelihood of a teen pregnancy.” 
Sounds like a nice link, but I have to say I’m skeptical. While the study did look at a few other factors, like if teens lived with a single parent or wanted to have a baby, it didn’t address a number of other crucial issues.  

For example, one glaring omission was that the study failed to ask teens if they got any sex ed and, if so, what kind. If all the kids surveyed were getting abstinence-only education and taking virginity pledges, it would make a bit more sense that they weren’t able to balance what they saw on TV (like Ross and Rachel falling into bed without a condom, consequence free) with the reality of their own lives, where unprotected sex could have some pretty grim results. 
Still, I find it hard to believe that kids–even with the most basic knowledge of sex–would assume that they won’t get pregnant just because Donna and Eric had unprotected sex and stayed fetus-free. 
The study also failed to look at issues like access to birth control and health care. Could this explain why Canada–a country where the exact same TV shows are shown–has only half the teen pregnancy rate of the United States? I don’t know because this question wasn’t posed by the researchers! 
It sure would be nice to be able to blame TV for teen pregnancy, but even if there is a link, TV is not the real culprit. Our terrible sex education and health care systems are.

Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed, Virginity
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  • liza

    Its just awfull that many teens have gotten pregnant because of rapes and things of the like and many are called sluts for what they didn't do…
    My mom will be really mad at me if i have a baby under 30…. But really who wants to have a baby cuz there cute…Get a puppy instead trainable,cute,and much less trouble (in one sense)

  • juggalette640

    We may all get horny, but alot of younger kids now and days are getting pg a little too early in life, and then they wonder why everyone "dis-likes" them, don't get me wrong, some of the best movies out there have sex-scenes but that doesn't mean that after the movie is done everyone is like "Oh, lets have sex!" No, that's not how it's done, catch me if i'm wrong, but you have the choice of saying yes to sex and the choice of saying no to sex, so we,them,us or whoever can't really be like "Oh, we're blaming tv." Because that's not how it's working

  • Karin

    Why do teens want to have a baby already at their age? I'm not blaming anybody, but I think that decision is not very well thought through. They've got school work to do and are not developed enough to raise a child. It takes a lot time and effort to raise a baby. And don't skip school just because you wanted to have that child so bad – education is important. Just wait until you've got your GCSE and then you've got the opportunity to be a good mum.

  • ME

    wat the heck????????? unless u were raped or turned into a zombie slut its ur own fault u get pregnant!
    tru TV can inflence u as a young child but… seriosly wat type of parent doesn't cover the 5 year olds eyes once the ppl in the movie get drunk and fall into bed??

  • Fabby

    I know that I'm having sex with every man who strikes my fancy because Samantha does it with absolutely no consequences five times a day. Who's with me?
    (tongue in cheek post)

  • shelby

    What people are saying is somewhat true but they also forget the thousands of girls who get raped each yr! I think our culture is so twisted. guys just try to imprese their guy friends to get "chicks" and get laid.
    and girls have to go through the bad after getting or harrased to have sex. First they might get pregnant , or getting labeled slut , skank , whore and other hurtfull names and guilt and to guys that means that your cool and popular if you have sex with lots of girls.
    one example of which our culture blaming girls for their wrong is this blog nobody says what their promoting on t.v and what the girls go through and how the guys make girls feel

  • dee

    While you guys may think that the media has NO effect on this, it's actually kind of true.
    I mean, I know that sex is totally your choice, but for some young kids they know NOTHING. See, look at your baby brother or sister or cousin. Whatever. How many of them re-enacts some of the stuff on Disney Channel or Nickolodeon or basically love the stuff there?
    So the media does have some sort of influence on us. There are negative results that it produces, too, such as anorexia and bulimia and stuff. My ICT class did a project on this and it really pains me to see how we're fighting for perfection that doesn't even exist.
    But anyway, back on the subject: TV shows such as, well, Gossip Girl and such shows sexual behaviors ( not that I don't like GG… I LOVE Chuck and Blair!) and kids who are at a young age that's not very well informed about stuff like this thinks that it's normal ( which it is, but it may be too young for them to reenact) and so the chances of having sex increases.
    Seriously, even elementary kids talk about sex and masturbation now, it's disgusting. You see new TV shows and music vids and everything else and aren't they just kind of … racy? This can actually influence kids into doing it.
    Yes, yes, and yes sex is by choice. But it can totally be indirectly "encouraged" by outer influences.
    So that's probably what I want to say. It IS possible.

  • beauty

    this is so dumb i wish society will stop blaming the media about their mistake people have sex cause they want to

  • kitten

    actually this is pathetic. most teens get pregnant out of their will. of course many people have interest in sex which is biologically normal for teenagers. what they fail with is the precautions and thats definatly not tv to blame for x

  • Jessica

    tv is a stupid way of blaiming pregnant teens.. im 16 and 9 months pregnant… i had unprotected sex and that was my fault.. ive taken classes…girls see me pregnant and wanna get pregnant because i look cute which i think is kinda rediculous but tv is defidently not the cause of anything… people know wat their doing before they do their actions and if they get pregnant then thats on them no one else…

  • Katie

    Why do we always need to find someone/something to blame?

  • chelsea

    actually, ironically Ross and Rachel got pregnant after using a condom which didn't work.
    Honestly, if a teen watches TV and sees a pregnant teen and believes that it would be an amazing idea, or rather a teen's sex experience WITHOUT getting pregnant and believes that they couldn't possibly get pregnant either–There is something deeply wrong with their logic.
    And actually, "That 70's Show" as well as many shows on popular teen networks *such as "The-n"* portray the effects that a teen pregnancy or unplanned pregnancy can have.
    Kelso and Pam (i think that was her name) on That 70's Show with their unplanned child.
    Rachel and Ross experiencing the panic that comes when condoms fail. (on Friends)
    Amy Jergins (on The Secret Life of the American Teenager) is a show that is all about the effects of unprotected sex and the resulting child (in her case).
    Mia Jones (in Degrassi)has to deal with teen pregnancy at 13, dealing with the stigma of it, and being careful of who she dates because she has to be conscious of who she's bringing into her baby's life.
    If anything, I feel like TV would be doing the opposite. And if teens are looking to television to dictate what is and isn't good for them, then America is a lost cause.

  • noe

    we have sex cause we're horny, not because Carrie and Samantha get laid in the latest episode of "Sex and the City"

  • Desiree

    Well im 17 and im 8 months prego im having a little gurl and no I do not blame t.v for why I got pregnant that is one of the stupidest things I have ever heard.
    Gurls were geting pregnant at a young age before now.. My mom had me right when she turned 18 so she was a teen mom..
    Juss because you have a baby young dont mean you cant do what you want to with your life.. And yes I knew what I was doing so i had the possibletillety to get pregnant..

  • devub

    I cannot blame TV shows for teen pregnancy. Its their own fault that they decided to have unprotected sex in the first place. And I'm being straight-up honest with you, my friend Nicole is 4 months pregnant. And even after she has the baby, she still is going to have sex. I don't find much problem with having sex in the first place, but how hard is it to use a condom?

  • Kenzie

    I totally agree that what people watch on tv might have an influence on teen pregnancy, but let's get real here. Saying it's the only factor or even that it's the biggest factor is just silliness.
    If we cleaned up tv programs AND fixed some of the sex education programs, THAT might have a bigger influence on our teen pregnancy rates.

  • Mel

    Tv isnt to blame for girls not taking responsibility for what they do, no one is forces these girls to go out and have irresponsible sex. It is no one's fault but there own if they happen to get pregnat because they are the ones who chose to have sex without taking precaution.

  • Beth

    Well maybe if some girls took more precautions to NOT get pregnant, or at least take responsibility for their actions, we wouldn't have so many teen moms would we? C'mon people, we've blamed just about everything on television: crime, violence, and now teen pregnancy?

  • crista

    That's absolutley ludacris.
    Does it ever occur to anyone that teens that find intrest in shows about sex have a predisposed inclination to take instrest in that subject matter in the first place? The conclusions that are being drawn are extremely shallow. Those who have an intrest in programs with themes of a sexual nature obviously have that intrest for a reason. You can't blame TV for that. Its like saying ESPN creates athletes or Lifetime creates women. Apperantly you can lack common sense in this country as long as you give greiving parents some false hope that the fetus in their daughter's tummy wasn't put there by her own accord.

  • Ellie

    That's completely true. It's utterly pointless for them to blame American teen pregnancy on tv shows that air in other countries where teen pregnancy rates are half of what they are here.