Teen Sex and Pregnancy
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Teen Sex and Pregnancy
Features the latest news, multimedia and perspectives on sex and teen pregnancy, curated by and for teens. Opinions expressed herein are those of the contributors, and not necessarily endorsed by Teens Talk, ACAP or the Keep it 360 campaign.
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Teen Motherhood: When "Reality TV" Doesn't Fully Reflect Reality - RH Reality Check (blog)

"They judge us upon age, and it’s not like that. I mean it’s not good for a 16-year old, 15-year old to have a baby at a young age ... But who sits here and says ‘I’m gonna get pregnant at 16?’ We all think, oh I’m gonna get married, or I’m gonna graduate first, go to college and then get married. And nothing ever turns out that way."

Teens Talk's insight:

A wonderfully frank and provocative article on the subject, incorporating real stories, real statistics, and real results. It doesn't just complain about the problem and how other people—the government, the poor, males, females, the media—are at fault, but actually depicts positive solutions in action. This gives me hope that despite the severity of the teen pregnancy "epidemic," we really can make a meaningful difference in overcoming this problem—if we can work together.

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Tessa Fergusson's curator insight, May 16, 2013 7:56 AM

This article reveals that the 'reality' shows on teen pregnancy isnt reality at all. It isn't a pleasant experience & not everyone gets the happy ending that these tv shows says that happens. In fact more than not it is the complete opposite.

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Encouraging Abstinence is About Truth, Not Judgment

"I like to encourage others to remain abstinent, but to help them, not to control or judge them. From my personal experiences, I do believe that abstinence will genuinely be best for someone in the long run in the emotional and spiritual sense."

Teens Talk's insight:

While this opinion piece may have little evidence-based support and relies more on those "traditional family values" I've discussed in previous posts, the article does succinctly present some of the precepts of the abstinence side of things. Further, although the author seems a little dogmatic, she seems to be quite gentle and conciliatory when sharing her opinion, which she is certainly entitled to, and seems to understand where both sides are coming from. Also, note the intriguing (if somewhat acrimonious) discussion in the comments.

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Poor Reading Skills Tied To Risk Of Teen Pregnancy

"Seventh grade girls who have trouble reading are more likely to get pregnant in high school than average or above-average readers, according to a new study from Philadelphia."

Teens Talk's insight:

The research this article references makes clear the importance of not only more traditional methods of reducing teen pregnancy, such as sex ed and condom distribution, but also need for broader teen wellness education and youth empowerment—exactly what Teens Talk is working to provide.

 

For another, presumably better-informed opinion on the topic, I would direct readers to Emma Beall's post on the ACAP blog: http://tinyurl.com/TTBlog-Mindset

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North Carolina Youth Ask, Health Officials Answer

North Carolina Youth Ask, Health Officials Answer | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

"She’s a sexually active 16-year-old looking for birth control advice. He’s a high school football player in need of a quick sports physical. Another student needs a round of immunizations. All these young people could wind up at the new Teen Wellness Center at the Gaston County Health Department."

Teens Talk's insight:

Similar to our own Teen Wellness Center, this Gaston County outfit is going about its job in precisly the right manner: with the needs of the region's youth in mind. No wonder the teen pregnancy rate there has dropping steadily in the past few years.

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Pregnancy Prevention Effectiveness Chart, Informative Articles and More

Teens Talk's insight:

Check out this hugely informative page. Not only does it have a useful chart with information on the relative effectiveness of a wide range of birth control methods all in one place, but it also boasts a boatload of links to fascinating resources including studies and commentary on abstinance vs. safe sex, preventing STDs, real-world contraceptive use, and emergency "morning after pills," also known as "Plan B."

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Sex questions still not part of youth survey

Sex questions still not part of youth survey | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it
Once again, Georgia is not including questions about sexual behavior in a CDC-sponsored survey of high school students....To do effective prevention, we must meet Georgia’s young people where they are, and to do that we have to have solid information.’’
Teens Talk's insight:

Notably, Georgia is not the only state not asking these key questions; Virginia and Maryland are also on that list. Without this, not only do we lack data to make informed decisions on how to best address the teen pregnancy issue, but we also loose much of our federal funding for making a diffirence. Certainly something to take a look at.

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Teaching Teenagers to Have a Life Before Creating One

Teaching Teenagers to Have a Life Before Creating One | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it
A series of classes at the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club teaches a kind of sex education that goes beyond abstinence and birth control to address what relationships need to be healthy.
Teens Talk's insight:

A truly fascinating and worthwhile article, exploring the deeper purpose of the guidance given at an after-school facility, this piece is notable for its focus on the broader issues behind teen pregnancy. Considering its extremely high rate of success, such a holistic program is well worth a look for other institutions in the country.

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Ambitious Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Seeing Success in Milwaukee

Ambitious Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Seeing Success in Milwaukee | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it
In 2006, Milwaukee had one of the nation’s highest teen birth rates. With more than two years to go on an ambitious goal to curb teen pregnancies, the city has already cut its rate by more than a third.

 

A shining example of a teen pregnancy success story, this article shows how effective a teen pregnancy prevention campaign can be, and highlights the importance of education and a multimedia element. Like with other issues, a multiprong approach to the problem appears to be the best way to go.

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Melbourne Teens Lead Safe Sex Awareness Effort

Melbourne Teens Lead Safe Sex Awareness Effort | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

“Four bright red giant condoms stood erect in front of Melbourne’s Federation Square, three-four meters tall last Friday. There was a genuine buzz of excitement around the four phallic inflatable pillars which acted as the supports for an ‘inflatable condom castle’.”

 

It’s not just American teens that are getting involving in advocating for healthier teen sexual behavior. In the Australian city of Melbourne, teens have banded together to help promote safer sexual practices and emphasize how serious STIs can be in advance of World AIDS Day.

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'Romantic Sleepovers' Prevent Teen Pregnancy

"A new study suggests if the United States wants to decrease unwanted pregnancy and STIs among teenagers, it should take a look at how parents in the Netherlands handle budding teenage sexuality: romantic sleepovers.”

 

Sounds odd, but this video has some pretty solid evidence behind it. After all, one cannot ignore the fact that the Netherlands has a teen pregnancy rate of 3.4/1000, compared to Mississippi (where abstinence-only sex ed is practiced) with a rate of 55/1000. Also stresses the importance of frank conversations between parents and children—where have we heard that before?

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Maya Raulic's comment, March 11, 2013 2:17 PM
How much parents are influenced in Teen's sex life truly affects teens. How strict parents are towards there kids shows how much a kid is not aware of what is right and wrong when there parents are care free. Teen Pregnancy is rising in America cause teens are being care free. The abstinence of sex ed is not good because sex ed really stresses why teens should be pregnant or not.
Abraham Rose's curator insight, November 23, 2013 7:18 PM

This video from The Young Turks suplies some quite surprising information on the pregnancy rates produced by the cultural differences between the USA, let alone Mississippi (8.52% teen preg. rate), and the Netherlands (1.16% teen preg. rate). It seems to me that this strong indication of the more succesful sex education is produced by is also produced by the atmosphere of the families involved at the time of intercourse. (to be discussed more in the next post) This would partially be due to the fact that Dutch parents tend to speak more openly about sex and contraception but also simply the acceptance of their actions that the teen feel from their parents. In 2003 there was a survey that found that 2/3  Dutch 15-17s who are in stable relationships are have permission to sleep together in their bedrooms. Both sexes were reported to have the same chances to gain this approval. Although not as old guard as Mississipi or even the USA as a whole, I am sure that the "Aussie" way of dealing with the subject of sex and contraception is not nearly as progressive as that of Holland.

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MS Governor Blames Teens For Failed Abstinence Only Policies

MS Governor Blames Teens For Failed Abstinence Only Policies | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

“Even though [Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant] claims Mississippi’s high teen pregnancy rate is not due to a lack of education about birth control, and rather a disregard for using it, the reality is that many teens choose to forgo contraception because they are grossly misinformed about how effective it is. And that lack of education about effective contraception is a direct result of the abstinence-only education programs that Bryant supports.”

 

An effective counterpoint to the previous article nominally supporting abstinence-only sex ed. It does have some strong opinions, but worth a read due to the science behind them.

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Abstinence-Only For Mississippi

Abstinence-Only For Mississippi | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

“What you do today affects your future,” [Program Director Jima Alexander] said. "We talk about teenage sexual relationships and the possible consequences, such as teenage pregnancy and STDs.”

 

This article, straight out of Mississippi, describes the implementation and criticism of an abstinence-only curriculum in several Mississippi schools. While the more traditional approach may come as a surprise for many Northern Virginians used to comprehensive sex ed (“church ministers…teach the lessons”), it never hurts to gain another perspective on this issue—especially given Mississippi’s significance as the state with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.

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Maya Raulic's comment, March 11, 2013 2:09 PM
Other then the fact of pregnancy, teens should be effected through religion if they are religious. They talk about the risks like diseases and being pregnant but why it is wrong to have sex with anyone. People need to realize why sex is a special thing not something to do all the time. People need to realize what there morals are.
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Not Always 'Bigger in Texas': Why State Teen Pregnancy Rates Dropped

Not Always 'Bigger in Texas': Why State Teen Pregnancy Rates Dropped | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

“Jodee Widener, 17, said she didn’t realize how much becoming a teen mom would change her future. ‘It’s disappointing. I’ve always wanted to go into the Navy, but that’s impossible anymore,’ she said, looking down at her 3-week-old baby girl asleep in her arms.”

 

The good news here is that even in Texas, the teen pregnancy rate is not quite so large as it has been in years past, and evidence-based methods are bearing fruit. However, the importance of parent involvement and communication is critical in continuing this success.

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Billboard Hopes to Encourage Parent-Teen Conversations on Sex and Teen Pregnancy

"A recently erected billboard aims to spark the uncomfortable conversation between parents and teens.The large ad shows a couple looking at each other, the girl with her arms around the guy. And to the side, the question, 'How will your kid learn about sex?'"

 

Teens Talk's insight:

Although some trouble spots remain, especially in rural counties, North Carolina seems to be doing an excellent job of reducing teenage pregnancy, with rising involvement and innovation in effective awareness and education campaigns coincident with teen pregnancy rates dropping throughout the state. This billboard is but one example of how our friends in the Tar Heel State encourage open and honest conversations--a cornerstone of empowering youth to avoid teen pregnancy.

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Maya Raulic's curator insight, March 6, 2013 9:12 PM

I think parents should have more influence on teens and should talk to their children more. Alot of parents dont contribute enough.

Maya Raulic's comment, March 11, 2013 8:39 PM
Although some trouble spots remain, especially in rural counties, North Carolina seems to be doing an excellent job of reducing teenage pregnancy, with rising involvement and innovation in effective awareness and education campaigns with teen pregnancy rates dropping throughout the state. This billboard is but one example of how our friends in the Tar Heel State encourage open and honest conversations--a empowering youth to avoid teen pregnancy has begun.
Marena Dials's curator insight, April 28, 2015 2:07 AM

Parents need to talk to there teens more instead of thinking "maybe their not ready' or "that didn't cross their mind". When you think you know your child you really and truly don't. The more you wait to talk the more they tend to have sex. Never give a child the mindset on that they won't mess up and that every mistake is a lesson learned  because when they actually do you'll be upset because you always expected greater, and never pictured the outcome with having a young child as a mother or father.

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Safe Sex Ad Sparks Debate in Newspaper Staff

A Health and Welfare ad about using condoms stirred debate on the newspaper staff. “It’s not graphic,” said [staffer August McKernan]. “The abstinence policy is outdated. Censorship sucks.”

Teens Talk's insight:

Yes, this article is from a high school paper in Boise, Idaho, but it epitomizes the ideal of how we ought to treat the teen pregnancy issue (as well as what high school journalism can aspire to...something notably lacking where I live). I fully agree with Ms. McKernan and her compatriots, and not only with their opinion on newspaper censorship (another issue entirely). Dissemination of factual information vital to the health and wellness of the teenage population should not be roadblocked by the unsubstantiated personal prejudices and squeamishness in certain elements of the adult population--dogma also known euphemistically as "family values." Such suppression of knowledge will only widen the yawing generational divide and do irreparable harm to our goal of promoting “open and honest conversations” regarding sex and teen pregnancy between teens, parents, and the community.

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MS School District Refuses to Teach Contraception Despite School Board Decision

MS School District Refuses to Teach Contraception Despite School Board Decision | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

"Although three Greenwood-area school districts have opted for an abstinence-plus sex education curriculum to be taught in schools, only two are teaching curricula that include discussion of contraception. 'Contraceptives are supposed to be included,' said [MS Department of Health Director] Matthews."

Teens Talk's insight:

If you are going to go the abstinance-only route, then at least don't falsly advertise you are including more than just the tried-and-untrue rhetoric. Even percieved dishonesty toward parents will greatly widen the already yawning gulch seperating public health officials and their most critical stakeholders: youth and their parents.

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Europe vs. USA: What We Can Learn From Across The Pond

Europe vs. USA: What We Can Learn From Across The Pond | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

"[Unlike the US, Frace, Germany, and the Netherlands] have an unwritten social contract with youth: 'We’ll respect your right to act responsibly and give you the tools you need to avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.'"

Teens Talk's insight:

The study has plenty of other interesting statistics, but this graph really says it all. The US is lagging far behind Europe, and we've wasted far too much time trying to blame anything or anyone but oursevles. This article takes an important step toward equalizing that disparity: finding out why.

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Albuquerque Uses Informal Discussion Groups to Spread Pregnancy Prevention Message

Albuquerque Uses Informal Discussion Groups to Spread Pregnancy Prevention Message | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

The bridal and quinceanera salon in the heart of Albuquerque's South Valley is closed for the evening, but a small group of parents and teens gathers there. This is a home health party, a gathering put on by the New Mexico Teen Pregnancy Coalition to talk to parents and teens about anatomy, birth control, sexually transmitted diseases and communication.

Teens Talk's insight:

These meetings, similar to Teens Talk's own informal discussion groups, seem quite unconvential (ever had someone come to your house to give a presentation on how to stay healthy and avoid pregnancy)? However, the intamite setting really seems quite appropriate for increasing comfort with the subject matter at hand. We'll keep an eye on the state to see how such tactics affect its 2nd in the nation teen pregnancy rate.

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MS Gov. Bryant Should Spare No Effort to Curb Teen Pregnancy

MS Gov. Bryant Should Spare No Effort to Curb Teen Pregnancy | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it
Years of taking a "just say no" approach to underage sexual activity has given Mississippi the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation.
Teens Talk's insight:

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant seems to have a lot of bark when it comes to teen pregnancy, but given his state's worst in the country teen pregnancy rate, its time he steps up and backs his promises up with some concrete, evidence-based action. This article opinions how that might be done.

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MS Has Most Teen Pregnancies, Abstinence-Only Education ...

Mississippi is home to the nation's highest teen pregnancy rates, as well as abstinence-only education, misinformation on birth control, and only one clinic where abortions are available. Governor Phil Bryant (R) blamed teens for the sky-high pregnancy rates, saying they just don't care enough.
Teens Talk's insight:

This may sound like a broken record,  but the video is a compelling illustration of what works and what doesn't in sex ed, and provides several perspectives on possible solutions to the problem.

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Ashleigh Cummings's curator insight, November 7, 6:24 PM
Turks, The Young. “MS Has Most Teen Pregnancies, Abstinence-Only Education.” YouTube, YouTube, 8 Dec. 2012, www.youtube.com/watch?v=57-pnvySWps.
Ashleigh's insight: The video represents the high rate of teen pregnancy. This is because most schools do not offer a sex education class, therefore a majority of teens who are dating are new to it so they don't know how to act or what to do. this video is targeting teens and the concerned parents of the teens.  Most schools don't offer a sex education class so how do they expect teens to be in the know about sex and abstinence? Due to this lack of educational program the majority of high school teens, more in Mississippi than any other place, has gotten pregnant. Yes, there are signs for teen pregnancy, like not to do it, but just because the teens are told not to do it doesn't mean they'll listen. As teens, they don't understand or know about all the risks involved with having sex. There are diseases that get transmitted and unplanned pregnancies followed by abortions. Sex education should be a mandatory class at all schools. Not only to try to prevent so many pregnancies but so every teen is informed of all the risks possible instead of finding out when it happens.  
 
 
 
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A Tale of Two Conferences...On Teen Pregnancy

A Tale of Two Conferences...On Teen Pregnancy | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

“"If you want to fail in life, if you want to end up being on Medicaid -- CHIPS and Medicaid and food stamps the rest of your life -- if you never want to have a career, then all you've got to do is drop high school and have a baby," [MS Governor Phil] Bryant said. "And I can almost assure you that's what's going to happen to you."

 

… Okay, then. The article describes two symposia held on the two competing views on how teen pregnancy can be prevented: abstinence-only sex ed or a more comprehensive curriculum. More interesting, though, are Governor Bryant’s comments on the subject, which are rather revealing of his true attitude on the issue.

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Maya Raulic's comment, March 18, 2013 8:01 PM
Teen Moms are offered a good amount of free money just because they are a teen mom. They are offered free medical insurance for themselves and baby, food for themselves and baby, and money. Some argue this is not fair for teen moms to be offered all this because it is there faults but some say that it is fair and it helps a teen get back on there feet. This does not mean that you are going to live on welfare and all that for the rest of your life, as some will argue. Some choose this route but others choose to go to college or to work too. Not everyone is the same.
dajha bishop's curator insight, May 13, 2013 3:11 PM

most teens that fall off the road of abstinence does not know that getting pregnant at a young age and having a child is harder then it seems even if the government is supplying money and medicare for the child and their mother and/or father.

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NY Sex Ed Brings Controversial Changes

NY Sex Ed Brings Controversial Changes | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

“Recent controversial changes to the New York City sex education curriculum include more detailed discussions about sex and contraception and ‘one optional activity even involves sending students to local drugstores to buy condoms’”

 

On the Teens Talk blog, Teens Talk President Emma Beall discusses some interesting new developments in New York’s fight against teen pregnant and modernization of their sex ed programs. Check it out for more on the latest innovations in meaningful, impactful sexual education.

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Stories of Teen Pregnancy and Its Effects in Rural NC

Stories of Teen Pregnancy and Its Effects in Rural NC | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

“At the end of a long, muddy dirt road in Rowland, in a purple single-wide trailer, beyond a screen door tied shut with string, lives a mother and her three children — one of whom is about to become a mother herself, at the age of 15.”

 

Thus is the prelude to an engaging and comprehensive article on the effects of teen pregnancy on a rural, conservative North Carolina community. While managing not to take sides, the author deftly picks her way through this often hotly debated issue while still holding firm to the evidence. Definitely worth a second look.

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Teen Pregnancy Rate Drops Across North Carolina

Teen Pregnancy Rate Drops Across North Carolina | Teen Sex and Pregnancy | Scoop.it

"A number of factors likely have contributed to the statewide decline, including sex education programs and policies that promote health and responsibility. Comprehensive programs that teach teens about potential consequences of sex, how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and birth control methods are critical."

 

At least one state in the South appears to be doing a commendable job at managing the issue of teen pregnancy, running the gamut from comprehensive sex ed to partnering with religious groups. This example really shows how critical it is to adopt multiple, coordinated methods to stop teen pregnancy in its tracks, no matter where one stands on the matter.

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Not Your Father's Sex Ed

“To celebrate Carrera's 25th anniversary, graduates talk about how the program shaped their lives and ultimately set them on the path to personal success and fulfillment.”

 

A superb, inspiring video about pregnancy and STI prevention program done right. Take one listen to this dynamic doctor and you’ll agree this isn’t your grandfather’s sex ed.

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