Social Media's Role in the Decline of Teenage Pregnancy
16 and pregnant - Leah - fanpop.com
I say it's a surprise because wasn't the sole attraction of Tinder sex? And hasn't there been a surge in revenge porn circulating about on the likes of Facebook and Instagram?
We all know that there's been a shift in our social lives, how we conduct ourselves and our views. For instance, going back to circa 1940 women were generally expected to be kind of virginal, pure and stepfordy. Not to say that they were all like that, my Grandad certainly let my Nan do as she pleased, but social expectations were different back then and so was socialisation. Women tended to socialise primarily with other women and courting couples dated for a long time before making it official. There was also one gargantuan difference - no mobile phones and no social media; social media was not even a tiny baby twinkle in a dude's eye - mainly because the internet hadn't even been invented yet.
If people wanted to interact they had to do it face to face; if you wanted to make friends, you had to get out there, open your mouth and speak (scary i know).
Lets crank it forward now to life just before today. Before the social media obsession, teenage pregnancy was at an all time high, as was teenage drinking and recreational drug use. The social rules and regulations had begun shifting and kids, who desperately wanted to be adults, behaved accordingly so. Reckless behavior became romanticised and many teenagers bore the brunt of it and had to face the results.
This is not going to be an attack or judgement on teen mothers because although in some ways it can be awful, for some people I think pregnancy can be the best thing to happen and they make great parents.
Okay, now the history lesson is over and we all are up to date with the trends in women's sexuality lets talk about the actual point! Social media has warped our realities in a very dramatic way. It creates an almost hyper reality in which teenagers and adults are always in constant communication, killing off the necessity and desire to physically meet up and converse in person. You can sit at home in your bedroom and not feel the need for human company because it all comes from the hunk of metal in your hand; well not hunk anymore, they're all thin and sleek now. This has also caused a rise in social anxiety. People don't know how to meet new people in the street or at a club or I don't know, at a skate park (if that's still cool). They're so used to the calculated and distanced messages that they aren't used to spontaneous and potentially awkward conversations.
Teenagers feel safe sending 'nudes' (although god knows why, sending provocative images of yourself to a stranger or semi stranger is never a good idea) but can't stomach the thought of a real life date, where you get to know one another that way and potentially engage in a monogamous and safe intimate relationship.
Another point to make is perhaps a bit awful to say but also probably a bit true. People used to have a lot of sex because their hormones were raging, they were bored and there was nothing better to do. Sex (oh dear I cant believe I'm writing this on the internet) is fun. It makes you feel good and as I said before, reckless behavior was romanticised and consequences weren't as hammered home so people didn't seek proper protection. As previously mentioned teenage drinking and drug use has also decreased which, combined with the over use of social media will explain a lot of this decrease. Teenage pregnancy has dropped by a whopping 45 percent since 2007 and is the lowest since records began 50 years ago.
Now, this creates an interesting dilemma, because as I said on the one hand people are now becoming socially inept and self obsessed; look around you at a bus station, everyone's glued to their phone, posting about their lives rather then experiencing them, but it's also helped reduce a massive social issue so we cant really complain. I suppose it will remain one of life's annoying to-and-fro debates. It also demands appreciation of the new generation teenagers, the kids that are actively learning about safe sex and the dangers of partaking in said activities. Well done, I honestly commend you for that.
To read more about the effect that social media has had on drinking among teens, as mentioned in this article, please follow this link.
Social Media's Role in the Decline of Teenage Pregnancy Reviewed by Robyn Tillett on Monday, March 14, 2016 Rating: