A satire about MTV and teen pregnancy.
|Due to the high rates of teenage pregnancy, school districts nationwide are expected to start using the MTV series Sixteen and Pregnant and Teen Mom as an educational tool for students next school year.
The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the entire world: about 750,000 girls under the age of 20 become pregnant each year. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Wisconsin actually has the ninth lowest teenage pregnancy rate, but some politicians feel we need to do more. “In addition to handing out condoms in the MPS district,” Governor Jim Doyle said, “I plan on requiring, by law, that high schools that do teach sex education to schedule the regular viewing of these shows.”
During a press conference last week, Doyle described these shows as “realistic, captivating, and an overall first-rate experience.” It is his hope that these programs will open up student’s eyes to show them the real consequences of being a teenage parent. “Nothing is more terrifying than reality,” said Doyle, “and that’s exactly what MTV is. Reality.”
Doyle is facing strong critics to this piece of legislation because recent studies have found that teens who are exposed to more viewing of racy television are two times more likely to get pregnant before the age of 20 over the ones that do not watch these types of programs. Other studies indicate that seeing teen pregnancy glamorized on TV makes teenagers want to have a baby. “By showing these programs, we are not supporting or advising teens getting pregnant, that would be counterproductive,” said Doyle. “Instead we are showing that this does happen to real teens, real people.”
But the controversy does not stop there. Many parents feel their roles as parents are being violated. “I send my child to a public school,” Jane Schmitt, the parent of junior Jordan Schmitt, said, “but that doesn’t mean they can do what they want. I pay taxes, too, you know.”
Other parents are praising the schools to step in where they don’t want to. “I always have felt that having “the talk” with my child would be very uncomfortable for various reasons,” said Robert Juneau, the parent of Christy Juneau. “I’m thrilled that I don’t have to explain everything to her.”
Celebrities are even weighing in on the issue. Bristol Palin, the daughter of the former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, said, “I know for a fact that if I would have watched these shows during school, I would have never gotten pregnant. To be frank, these shows scare the crap out of me, and then I realize that that is my reality, it’s my life. Good thing I have such a great and supportive mother!”
While showing these specific programs is certain, Doyle did not make any comment on whether or not the law will include other shows on MTV, such as the documentarial series True Life, will be incorporated into classrooms as well. “To be honest, I watch MTV all the time,” said District Superintendent Gaylord Frank. “I find the shows to be very educational as well as entertaining, and I’m thrilled to be incorporating them into the classroom.”