Misguided ad campaign uses threats & putdowns in attempt to prevent teen pregnancy
Shaming and ridiculing teens is definitely NOT the correct way to prevent teenage pregnancies--which is why I think New York City's newest campaign to prevent adolescents from becoming parents is horrible and terribly misguided.
The U.S. is one of the few developed countries with a very high rate of teenage pregnancies, something which I've never really understood. We're living in a pretty modern country where, despite the fact that poverty and lack of education do exist, we're so much better off than many other places in the world. Rampant teen pregnancies is why I've always maintained that it's extremely important to speak clearly and openly to teens regarding how to prevent pregnancy, but also about their options once they do become pregnant.
As you can see in the photo above, the message that's being sent to young pregnant moms is aggressive and almost threatening. Putting up this giant heartbreaking photo in bus stops and subway stations of a baby crying saying that he won't be able to graduate high school because of his mom's age at the time of conception is not only cruel, it goes against the purpose of talking honestly and openly to teens.
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Instead of helping prevent teens from becoming pregnant, this message will make any young girl who's already pregnant feel like the worst person in the world, when what she most needs at that moment is support and help. I understand perfectly well the need to make young kids see how their lives would radically change if they become parents at such a young age, but I'm convinced that there are much better methods N.Y.C. could have used to get this information across.
Besides, I feel like the messages are an insult to teens moms who have actually managed to get ahead and be successful. They may not be the majority of the moms who have babies as teens, but there certainly are success stories out there. I hope N.Y.C.'s government realizes that it really messed up with this campaign and next time uses its funds in establishing a more effective sex education program for teens before they decide to have a baby and a support program for teens that are already pregnant and don't know where to turn.
Image via NYC.gov