Does Reality TV Encourage Teen Pregnancy?

Despite the fact that the birth rate among U.S. girls aged 15 to 19 fell to 39.1 births per 1,000 teens in 2009, it seems that the attention paid to teen pregnancies in the news is only increasing.

Many feel that reality shows about teen pregnancy, supposedly created to help teens realize the difficult consequences of unsafe sexual activity, actually work to glamorize the idea of having a baby while still, well, a baby.

MTV shows like Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant create a media frenzy around high-school aged girls who become pregnant unexpectedly. The teen-aged stars of these shows reportedly earn an average of $65,000 per season, while famous unwed-teen Bristol Palin receives more than $265,000 per year for her work with the Candies Foundation. Those figures are in stark contrast to the earnings of the average teen mom, which are around $23,000 per year.

Read more telling differences between the realities of teenage pregnancy and parenthood and the life of these reality stars in the graphic below.

Children of Teen Moms: Who Grows up in Poverty?
Infographic by

Related Reading:

Teen Fakes Pregnancy For School Project

90 Girls Pregnant At Memphis High School

Bristol Palin Says Teen Pregnancy Is Only Acceptable If You’re Rich Or Famous

Image Credit: Flickr – polinasergeeva


LMj Sunshine

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LMj Sunshine

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LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

Michael M.
Michael M.5 years ago

In what states is it even legal for girls age 15 to 19 to have sex ?

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

So, IF Bristol Palin hadn't been the daughter of a wealthy family, and her Mother hadn't been the Governor, or someone else with resources, what would her options have been? Would she be offered a job making 3/X what most of us are able to get without "connections"? No, she'd be just another unwed teenage Mom, probably on welfare.

Here's another scenario......I've seen far too many cases where the Mother is not criticized in any way for her decision to become pregnant, and yes, even glamorized in movies, TV shows, etc. Look at Britney Spears sister, and even Britney herself, actually. She was still a teenager when she had her first baby. She's hardly a role model or example of a good parent. Girls have made "pregnancy pacts" in school.........true, and extremely sad.

BTW, Colleen, I don't think it's illegal for grandparents to not assume the responsibility of a minor "grandchild", since they are not the parents. Most do because they want to do so.

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

Yes, Colleen, there's a difference.....3 years. Most 17-yr-olds aren't mentally prepared to be parents, haven't graduated from school, can't support themselves, let alone a child, and their future is indeed limited to resources available to them. My daughter became a parent when she was 18. She figured she was mature enough. Well, she didn't have a diploma, couldn't get a job, was with her boyfriend who also couldn't get a job, or if he did, couldn't hold it, and yes, they depended on ME for everything until the BF left and she went on welfare. I basically raised her son, as she wasn't capable of it. He's 29 now and lives with me, but not because he has to, just that he wants to (his wife lives here as well) and I have benefited from his help. He knows that it's "turn-about" time.

colleen p.
colleen p.5 years ago

there is differances in a 17 year old mom, and a 14 year old mom.

how much to the parents help? it is illegal for the grandparent, to NOT help take care of the child if its mother is 15 years old right? if said grandparents are lower middle class

I am not up and up on all these people, so I had to research their parents. at least here Gomez's mom had her at 15, and not one of those "OH LOL 19 is a teen ager"

But she still acted? even with paycheck to paycheck? Then Selena started acting.

both their parents had NO help at all from anyone?

Anna M.
Anna M.5 years ago

Now is the time of glamorization of everyday life. People want attention for doing anything, including being a teen parent. Sadly, the child didn't ask to be raised with limited resources, but the parent probably wasn't thinking too far ahead, anyway.

I am saddened that Bristol Palin is a rep for The Candies Foundation. For some time, I've already thought that they weren't doing their job well enough, but this just seals it for me. I have a shirt from the Foundation that states, "Be Sexy. It doesn't mean you have to have sex." Guess it's time to give that up. (No pun intended.)

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

Wow, Care.2's glitches are finally fixed. Hillary, I disagree with you. Teen pregnancy is never acceptable, but seems now, it IS being glorified more and less UNACCEPTABLE than it used to be. When I was in school, my classmates that did get pregnant didn't stay in school.......they tried to hide it and dropped out. After I was an adult (no, I graduated high school AND went to college), they had "alternative" schools for pregnant or students who were new parents. I think that's an acceptable choice. At 19, you are almost out of your teens, and I will assume not still in high school, either? We aren't back in the 1800's when getting married at 16 was the "norm" and they didn't have the means to use birth control, and it was also important to continue the "family name" or have children to help work the farm.

I think having children for any reason other than because you have the means to raise one (financially stable and independent), are mature enough and have the skills to BE a parent is irresponsible, not to mention that the environment is already adversely affected by over-population, but that's another topic, isn't it?