Teen pregnancy comes at no surprise

IUS Horizon

Media, lack of education lead to misconceptions on contraception

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 329,797 babies were born to teen women from ages 15-19 in 2011.

Only 50 percent of these teen moms will receive their high school diploma by the age of 22.

Because of this and other factors, teen pregnancy is having a serious effect on our country.

“In 2008, teen pregnancy and childbirth accounted for nearly $11 billion per year in costs to U.S. taxpayers for increased health care and foster care, increased incarceration rates among children of teen parents, and lost tax revenues because of lower educational attainment and income among teen mothers,” the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated.

Hear me out. I am not knocking teen moms. I do not hate children, and I am most definitely not advocating abortion. I just want to point out that the root of this problem starts in two places: the media and the education system.

THE MEDIA

The media is notorious for glamorizing everything. Unfortunately, sex sells, so naturally it is the go-to topic. The covers of most magazines geared toward women are trying to relay the same message: learn to be better in bed.

Magazines put those topics on the cover because it draws readers in, and it sells their product. However, 15-year-old girls do not need to learn how to have better sex.

The good side of sex is published in the media, but the repercussions of sex are not.

With uneducated sex comes unplanned parenthood or disease, which the media conveniently forgets to talk about.

Not to mention, reality television makes parenthood look glamorous. Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant and Juno are not accurate depictions of motherhood.

That is where we can rely on parents and the education system, right? Wrong.

THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

Don’t even get me started on the education system. I could write an entire column about the education system, but let’s focus on sex education in school.

I cannot speak for all schools, but I know that New Albany and Floyd County schools require only one semester of health class in four years of high school to graduate.

The class is not even solely a sex education class, it is health class. So in that class, diet, exercise, sex etc. are all taught in that one semester. Am I the only person that finds this odd?

With a combination of the media and lack of sex education, is it really a surprise when all of these teens end up pregnant?

If schools are not going to assume the responsibility to educate their students, then it falls on the shoulders of the parents.

The only problem with this is that society has made sex a taboo subject and many parents, like mine, shy away from the awkward ‘be safe and be smart’ conversation.
I am not here to give advice on raising children, but it seems like a no brainer to have a short, awkward conversation that could keep your child from becoming a typical teen-mom statistic.

I never really understood why sex was such an awkward topic to begin with.
As a procreative act, sex is simply reproducing, and there is nothing unnatural about that. So start talking about it.

THE SOLUTION

On the CDC’s website they state that 329,797 babies is a record low for U.S. teens in the age range of 15-19, so we are making progress. As a whole, we are educating ourselves more and being more careful.

However, I am still not comfortable with this number.
Since we do not have control over what the media publishes, and it is more than likely not in the schools’ budget to teach sex education, I believe talking about it is a good starting point.

The more we talk about it, the more comfortable we get with the idea. The key is open-mindedness and maturity.

By CASSIDY TEAGUE

Newscast Producer

casateag@ius.edu