16 and Not Pregnant: The Impact of Media on Declining Teen Pregnancy Rates

In our current society MTV has become a prevalent television station, especially for teens. MTV is well known for producing 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom but their recognition in these shows serious effects on our youths actions are minimal. Most Americans are unaware of the declining teen birth rate that has come about due to the airtime of 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom. There has been a total decline in Teen pregnancies of 5.7 percent due to these shows.

MTV’s Teen Mom follows teens and exploits the harsh realities of being a teen parent. Teen Mom is a spin off of MTV’s first show in this series, 16 and Pregnant, which trails teen girls depicting their struggles of being pregnant during their high school years.

The clip below is a trailer for the newest season of 16 and Pregnant:

Some critic’s attempt to blame this show for glamorizing teen pregnancy but after viewing this trailer it is obvious that these teens are constantly struggling emotionally or physically due to their young pregnancy.

The main study that proves that 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom have serious effects on the declining teen birth rate in America was done by The National Bureau of Economic Research, “Media Influences On Social Outcomes: The Impact of MTV’s 16 and Pregnant on Teen Child Bearing.” The experts who explored these effects were Melissa S. and Kearney Phillip B. Levine. This statement below is an overview of their works:

We use data from Google Trends and Twitter to document changes in searches and tweets resulting from the show, Nielsen ratings data to capture geographic variation in viewership, and Vital Statistics birth data to measure changes in teen birth rates. We find that 16 and Pregnant led to more searches and tweets regarding birth control and abortion, and ultimately led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births in the 18 months following its introduction. This accounts for around one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the United States during that period.

In addition to this study, which presents indisputable facts, teens have spoken up through social media and display real emotional reactions to these shows.



These girls clearly do not crave the lifestyle of being a teen mother, and who could blame them? The reality is that teen pregnancies not only can cause health complications for both teens and their child but they are forced to grow up and become an adult within nine short months. These girls miss out on prom, college, and just the fun of being a teen because they forgot to use contraceptives.

This photo is of one of the shows teens Mackenzie, she was forced to give up cheerleading after she became pregnant at 16.


MTV makes it extremely simple for teens who are seeking help on controlling their sex life and avoiding pregnancy, if you go to the main MTV 16 and Pregnant website they have two links to “its your sex life” and “stay teen.” These types of outreach opportunities for the shows’ fans support the notion that MTV is not encouraging in any sense for young girls to become pregnant, their intent is to help anyone seeking aid in avoiding pregnancy.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s