— Aleah N Shawn Burke (@aleahnshawn) February 7, 2014
“16 and Pregnant” is currently airing its fifth season, but some are already looking to future of the franchise.
Although MTV has yet to speak out on the issue, there doesn’t appear to be any reason why the show would end, especially considering it is said to have led to declining teen birth rates.
“16 and Pregnant,” which debuted its first season on June 9, 2011, follows teenage girls as they navigate through their pregnancies and all the hardships faced because of them. During each episode, MTV cameras follow the lives of these young girls, showing viewers what it is like to be pregnant in high school, juggling life as a soon-to-be mommy with life as a teenager.
As the girls prepare for motherhood, they are forced to make difficult decisions for their future. Will they focus on motherhood and chose to get their G.E.D. and, hopefully, a job? Or will they continue with their education in hopes of going to college? And what about their relationship with their child’s father? Will he step up and be a good dad or will he rebel against the idea? These are all questions that are answered during each hour-long episode, which makes the series quite dramatic.
Since the show’s debut, there has been plenty of negative press surrounding the idea of giving these girls, who have, according to most standards, made a bad choice, a national platform to gain fame. Should MTV really be rewarding these girls for getting pregnant at a young age? Most would say “no,” but at the same time, the idea is reportedly helping a bigger issue: teen pregnancy. And that, along with the show’s consistent ratings, may be enough to garner the series a sixth season.
According to a recently study conducted by Professors Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland and Phillip Levine of Wellesley College, the “16 and Pregnant” franchise, which also includes three spin-offs (“Teen Mom,” “Teen Mom 2″ and “Teen Mom 3″), “did far more good than harm.”
“Using data from Google Trends, Twitter, Nielsen ratings and Vital Statistics birth data, Professors Kearney and Levine found that teens who watch ’16 and Pregnant’ immediately go online to search for (and tweet about) birth control and abortion,” the Washington Post reported on the study in April 2014. “Through some very impressive and fascinating dot-connecting, Kearney and Levine found that ’16 and Pregnant’ led to a 5.7% reduction in teen births — a percentage that accounts for one-third of the total decline in teen births: 20,000 fewer teen births a year.”
Because of these findings, Enstars suggests the show is “likely” to be renewed. If the series is still receiving a high number of viewers and making a positive impact on today’s youth, MTV shouldn’t have any reason to decide otherwise.
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