Teenage Pregnancies are common in Britain, as many feel that sex education, and peer pressures to have sexual relations earlier are to blame. Sex education in Britain is much less explicit as it is in other European countries such as Holland. There, the number of teenagers having unprotected sex for the first time is 35% lower than it is here in Britain, and many think that the sex education is the reason why. Other reasons for the high teen pregnancy rate include a changing in family values.
Back in the 1950’s it was still considered a social taboo to be pregnant outside of wedlock, where as now days, the social repercussions are not so great. In fact, it is considered almost normal. The family values are not considered as important as it was before, and so having children when not in a safe, normally married environment, isn’t as frowned upon as it was in the past. The moral messages involved in having children outside of a safe environment aren’t as well reinforced either.
The idea that a baby isn’t just for a couple of days isn’t made clear in sex education, or by the immediate family. Nor is it made obvious, that when you cannot support yourself in the world, then you are not going to be able to look after a child, and that is abuse to the youngster not to the young person. There is also the difficulty and embarrassment involved in getting hold of contraception in Britain, which may contribute to the high Teenage Pregnancy rate. 2% of Teenagers feel they are frowned upon when getting contraception and prefer not to get it, instead risking unprotected sex. Sex is also glamorised by the media, and Hollywood. It is made to seem like it is easy, and that it has little repercussions, and there are very few films made depicting how difficult having a baby is for a young mother, often without the help of the child’s father because being a young father is steeped in negative connotations.
Peer pressure is another cause in Teen Pregnancies; teenagers are constantly bombarded with images of sex, as that is what sells and the natural curiosity and boasting of peers will pressure them into indulging into sexual practises, often not thought out. Solutions to this problem include improving the sex education over in Britain, the education needs to improve and become more explicit and far more detailed when it comes to sex. British teenagers have a sense of ‘it won’t happen to me’ when they first have intercourse, and things often go wrong.
Many teenagers don’t know the symptoms of an STI, or what the symptoms they know of would even look or feel like, and wouldn’t know what to do if they suspected they had contracted one, nor would they know what to do. Girls are also completely oblivious to the changes that they would go through when pregnant, other than the obvious swelling of the stomach, and the breasts growing, girls don’t realise the physical and mental aspects of becoming pregnant and the aftermath of pregnancy.
Parents feel that sex education needs to be drastically improved in schools too, and public resources such as GUM clinics need to be better advertised. Another solution to the problem of teenage pregnancies would be to make contraception easier and less embarrassing to get a hold of and so making contraceptives much more pleasant to buy or obtain from doctors then the use might help lower the teenage pregnancies in the UK. Giving youngsters more things to do will also stop the increase in pregnancies, as the lack of clubs or things that teenagers can do means that teens look for other ways to bide their time.
Peer pressure is also a factor in this, and ways of persuading youngsters that their friends are not having sex and they’re the only ones left out need to be discovered and made far more public. Families also need to become closer, with the family morals reinforced more than it is now. Girls have the idea that a baby is just for fun; and this needs to change as many young women don’t understand how much work a baby really is, nor is it made clear that a pregnancy isn’t easy, and childbirth isn’t pleasant.
If a pregnancy occurs, then the father of the child needs to be positively encouraged to take an active roll in looking after the child as the current negative image of young fathers needs to change to give the baby a good future with a strong family. The Media and Hollywood could also change the attitude to sex in teenagers. Although the subject sells, the fairytale image of it, where you can have as much of it as you like and not contract an STI or become pregnant is having an effect on Britain’s youth who believe this.
Hollywood should produce more films where young teenage mothers have to go through very real happenings, when pregnant or with a baby. The Media should run more articles or ‘true life stories’ on sex exploits, or the negative side of sex far more often as it is so influential on a young girl. Britain’s high teenage pregnancy rate is caused by a lot of things, and can also be defeated over changing just a few things in today’s society.