Is Social Media Affecting Teen Pregnancy Rates?

teenpregnancyRemarkably our obsession and worry over how pop culture is negatively influencing our youngsters might not actually be accurate. Could it be the opposite?

The numbers are quite interesting: teen pregnancy is going down.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy recently shared stats show that the teen birth rate had dropped by over 50% since 1991. This drop has been seen in every single one of the U.S. states, and in every demographic. Surprised? Of course you are!

So what the heck happened? For one thing, there has been some success with programs that advocate having safer sex or less sex, and then of course the easy access to different types of birth control. Remember that whole over-the-counter Plan B debate? It’s also possible that teenagers are just being taught to make more responsible choices.

It would be thrilling for parents to give educators a big heap of credit for shining the light on these new stats (sex education does wonders in states that allow it), but we think that it’s possible that there is another slightly different, (no less thrilling) thing happening here.

Might our obsessive relationship with all things media and internet actually be doing some good?

Many of us come from a generation that didn’t grow up texting, tweeting, and watching reality TV. We like to think of that era as a more wholesome time in our country’s past, but part of that assumed pure-ness was an inherent lack of exposure.

With the greater access, comes greater responsibility (at least on the teens part). Teens are more informed than ever, and while shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant,” often shoulder criticism for glorifying teen pregnancy, they actually give teens entree to in-your-face consequences: arrests, drug abuse, screaming babies, and screaming boyfriends. It’s not very appealing, and while teenagers are often cited as immature and naïve, social media and 24/7 media access give them the ability to digest the information and formulate their own (often smart) opinions. If they are sexually active, contraception looks pretty good in the light of day-to-day child rearing.

Lifestyles have changed as technology has changed, and it’s possible that the teens are right there with us.

The information superhighway does not, of course, prevent totally absurd sex rumors from circulating (a la douching with diet coke to kill sperm), but at least now our darling teens can google that crap ASAP and put it to rest before they jump in the sack.

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