A weekend caring for a computerized baby doll — a popular sex ed technique — doesn’t discourage pregnancy, according to an Australian study published in Lancet. Girls who mothered Baby Think it Over dolls were more likely to become pregnant than sex-ed students who didn’t get the lifelike dolls.
Costing several hundred dollars, the “robo-babies” mimic “six-week-old infant behavior including crying when hungry or needing changing, or gurgling when rocked and burped,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
The simulators track teens’ parenting, “including whether they are left for long periods in a car seat or left without adequate care, or even whether they are handled violently or incorrectly.”
By the age of 20, 17 percent of Australian girls in the Virtual Infant Parenting program had become pregnant compared with 11 percent of the control group.
VIP graduates also were less likely to have abortions than those who hadn’t cared for a robo-baby.
Many girls said caring for the baby dolls was a positive experience, with family members pitching in to help, said Sally Brinkman, of the Telethon Kids Institute in Western Australia.
I was 13 when my “surprise” (more like shock) brother was born. Naturally, I helped care for him — and not just for a weekend. It sure didn’t make me want to run out and have a baby of my own.
From The Onion‘s American Voices:
“Don’t send a thousand-dollar robot to do a bag of flour’s job.”
“Why don’t we just stick to the old-fashioned method of demonizing sexuality altogether?”
“Well, let’s not blame the schools. They’re doing all they can to prevent unwanted pregnancies besides teaching students about contraception and fostering open discussions about safe sex.”