MTV’s Teen Mom has brought the issue of teenage pregnancy to the forefront of public attention. A massively popular show that has attracted as many as 5.6 million viewers, the reality program documents the lives of four teenage girls coping with becoming a mother at a young age. While the show aims to prevent teenage girls from having sex and getting pregnant, many say the program can have negative effects on young women.
Naysayers primarily argue that Teen Mom glamorizes teenage pregnancy. The girls portrayed on the show have become famous and are featured on television interviews and magazine covers. The girls also earn thousands of dollars for each episode they star in. Recent MTV casting calls for the show have critics believing that the program is actually encouraging teens to become pregnant.
Still, advocates for the show believe that it is doing some good. A recent public opinion poll by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy found that 82 percent feel the show helps teens understand the hardships that young mothers face. Further, because the teens featured on the show come from all walks of life, it demonstrates to viewers that teenage pregnancy can happen to anyone. And, because many parents and children watch the show together, it helps open lines of communication on a topic that’s often difficult to talk about. The National Campaign’s poll, for instance, found that 40 percent of teens discussed the topic of teen pregnancy with a parent after watching the program.