16 and Pregnant.
I’ve never seen this MTV show, but apparently it deals with girls, well, 16 and pregnant.
Here’s where I admit my bias: ever since MTV stopped being “Music Television” I’ve tuned out. As pre-teens and teens however, my two kids were glued to this crap. “Real World” was a staple of the prepubescent crowd.
So now this…and here’s where I’m afraid monkeys start flying out of my butt and it starts raining blood.
Apparently this show has been partially responsible for the decrease in teen birth rates. You can view the evidence here.
I don’t know about you, but the realization that ANY pabulum from MTV is actually responsible for changing the behavior of young people boggles my mind. I’m not completely ignorant. I understand that MTV has always had a hand in shaping the styles, trends, and mores of our young people, but for me to comprehend that this show may actually be responsible for REDUCING the teen pregnancy rates is something that boggles my mind.
Being at the forefront of fashion and music is one thing. Helping to reduce teen pregnancies, a vital social challenge, is quite another.
In the final analysis, I think I’m disturbed at the fact that a channel that is so blatantly commercial and exists simply to line the pockets of its shareholders, is responsible for shaping such a critical issue.
I have to applaud the final outcome, even as I cringe at the methodology. But what frightens me most is the corollary. If an MTV show can so profoundly impact such a serious social issue, what prevents our young people from being impacted in a profoundly negative way from some other program. In other words, I guess I’m just blown away that something so pedestrian as MTV has realistically affected such an important issue.
As all forms of our media have become pseudo-parental figures for increasingly fractured traditional family units, and our kids are increasingly scoring poorly on traditional scholastic metrics, I can’t help but think we are not too far away from a frightening scenario where those who control the purse-strings of the media begin to control the hearts and mind of our youth.
Maybe it’s already happened and I need to remove my blinders. But I have two young adults who I’ve tried my hardest to teach to think critically and have an appreciation for social culture beyond the electronic sphere.
I have to believe the human heart and the thirst for knowledge is inherent in our spirit, and there will be those who fight for truth and will continue to think critically. And a profound thank you to those educators who continue to fight the good fight…