’16 and Pregnant’ informs — or not

The reality show 16 and Pregnant  encourages teen viewers to work harder to avoid pregnancy, according to a study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

. . . teenage viewers tended to look up information about sex in order to better prepare for it. The paper estimates that the shows have helped to reduce overall teenage pregnancy by 5.7 percent since soon after they began running.

Well, maybe not, reports Ed Week.

And yet less than a week before NBER released its study, researchers at Indiana University Bloomington and the University of Utah released a different study of the same shows and found that they actually lead to greater numbers of misinformed teens, who watch “Teen Mom” and think that teenage motherhood is like like living on Easy Street.

“Heavy viewing of teen mom reality programming positively predicted unrealistic perceptions of what it is like to be a teen mother,” they wrote. The study based its conclusions off of interviews with 185 high school students about perceptions of reality TV and teen pregnancy.

Teen Mom made Farrah Abraham a celebrity, the second study complains. Now 22, Abraham is earning a living through a sex tape with a porn star, a line of sex toys, etc. You might say she’s a professional slut. Will that look like an attractive lifestyle to teen girls? I certainly hope not.

Should public schools teach 13-year-olds about grinding?

Anti-birth propaganda in school

A sign in a public high school exhorts students to use contraception, complains Father John Hollowell, who happened to be visiting Northview High in Indiana.

The math “project” hanging in the hallway reads – “Zero Population Growth…It’s Up To You – No More Than Two”. . . it has one smiley face representing 10 million people…and I mean look at the sign…if people keep having kids the smiley faces won’t fit in the box anymore!  Look how scientific it is (sarcasm). I thought we were separating church and state?

In most developed countries, the population crisis is that too few children are being born, writes the priest on his On This Rock blog.

Birth rates are approaching one child per woman in Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Germany, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Eastern Europe . . .

When I told my parents I’d joined Zero Population Growth, a new high school club, my mother pointed out that they had four children. “Yes,” I said. “But I’m the second.”

Teen birth rate falls again

The teen birth rate has fallen by 44 percent from 1991 to 2010, reports the Centers for Disease Control. Births for teens 15 to 17 years old dropped 12 percent from 2009 to 2010.

Birth rates ranged from 10.9 per 1,000 Asian-American teens to 23.5 for non-Hispanic whites, 51.5 for non-Hispanic blacks and 55.7 for Hispanics. Rates are declining for all groups, but the black teen birth rate has fallen the fastest.

Teens are more likely to use contraception “at first initiation of sex” and to use condoms and hormonal methods, reports the CDC.

Years ago, a Rand study said the best birth control for teenage girls was a “realistic” plan to attend college. Now that nearly all teens plan to go to college — not always realistically — they may be more likely to listen to pregnancy prevention advice.

Utah governor vetoes sex ed ban

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed a bill that would have banned discussion of contraception in sex ed classes. A Republican in a very conservative state, Herbert gave the veto a parent control spin.

. . .  Herbert said that as a parent and grandparent he considered proper sex education in public schools an important component to the moral education youngsters receive at home.

“If HB 363 were to become law, parents would no longer have the option the overwhelming majority is currently choosing for their children. I am unwilling to conclude that the state knows better than Utah’s parents as to what is best for their children,” he said.

Currently, schools can teach “abstinence plus” sex ed, with parents’ consent, or abstinence-only.

. . .  Utah teachers may describe different types of contraceptives, how they work (such as by preventing transfer of bodily fluids) and their success and failure rates, though they may not advocate their use or explain to students how to use them.

The bill also would have barred instruction on homosexuality or other types of human sexuality.