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Teenage Pregnancy in the UK/ Essay / Paper by AssignmentLab.com
 

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    Teenage Pregnancy in the UK/ Essay / Paper by AssignmentLab.com Teenage Pregnancy in the UK/ Essay / Paper by AssignmentLab.com Document Transcript

    • 1 Name Professor Class Date Teenage Pregnancy in the UK 1.Introduction. Teenage pregnancy is a problematic issue of any society in most countries of the world. If in the low-developed countries the phenomenon might be the result of traditions and children are born by young mothers inside the families, in the developed countries the teenage pregnancies occur outside the families in the socially and economically disadvantaged groups. The UK is chosen for analysis because it is one of the most developed countries in the Western Europe and paradoxically it has the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the Western Europe. This research is aimed to explore the issue from various perspectives. First of all, the book of English writer Nick Hornby is analyzed in order to see both public and personal ideas. Secondly, the situation in the UK is described in depth, with statistical information, analysis of reasons and consequences for mother. Thirdly, governmental policies and media efforts are analyzed. Finally, the main results and prospective means are outlined, and conclusions are made. 2. Nick Hornby‟s “Slam” 2.1. Summary. The main story of the book is narrated by a 16-year old boy Sam. He is a regular teenager. He likes staking and going out with friends Rabbit and Rubbish, both skateboarders like Sam. He has good relationships with his young mother Annie, who gave birth to him when she was his age. His father Dave is a plumber and is separated from the family. He is a classic father of teenage pregnancy family. Sam used to have a regular teenage life until he
    • 2 met Alicia at the party of Annie‟s coworker, and they started dating. Due to his young age and unpreparedness for relationship they split, but soon Alicia found out that she was pregnant. At that point, everything changes. Sam is going through every possible way of coping with the news. First, he escapes to Hastings, thinking that the event can be forgotten and denied. But then he returns home and faces all the difficulties of situation – talking to Alicia, seeing the regret of his mom and the disapproval of Alicia‟s parents. Sam was afraid of going to college and explaining the situation to teachers, moving to Alicia‟s house and thinking of future fatherhood. He was about to leave her when he met her ex-boyfriend who pretended to be a father of Alicia‟s unborn child. In such moments of crises and confusion he asks his idol Tony Hawk for advice, although not for real, but in his imagination, on the other hand, the answers are quite real for Sam. Sam‟ fears and hopes are revealed in his dreams, when he sees himself in the future. After a couple of quarrels, birth of a child and another sex, Alicia and Sam understand that they do not suit each other, and it was not meant to work from the very beginning. In the last dream, Sam sees that they all we‟ll be doing fine – he will have another girlfriend Alex, and Alicia will meet someone called Carl, Alicia will be the main guardian of their sun Rufus and everything will be fine. But already in the dream, Sam understands that he will have to go through many challenges in order to sit like that in the Chinese restaurant. He will have to work hard and study part-time, help with both kids – his and Annie‟s. It will not be an easy life, but he will manage to do it. At least, that is what he is hoping for. 2.2. Sam – a regular teenager in UK. Sam in his 16 reflects the author‟s perception of the UK teenagers of nowadays. Like everyone of his age, he does not care for global issues or consider the probable results of his actions. He considers himself a regular guy, who, like all teenagers, knows what is the best for him, but in reality he is not ready for responsibility. This is revealed through his
    • 3 nightmare when he wakes up with Alicia in their possible future. She puts on some kilos, and her hair is greasy, and their baby Roof is crying, and he doesn‟t not know what to do, he doesn‟t know how to be a father1. The inability and the lack of understanding how to be a father made Sam run like a regular teenage father. On the other hand, while leaving, he understands that life is not only about calling, skateboarding, skating and hanging out with Rabbit and Rubbish2. He understands that maturity is not about being grown up enough to have sex, but being able to take responsibilities for your deeds and carry them on. He begins to realize that in order to make things right he has to work as hard as any adult does; in fact, he becomes an adult due to his situation and conditions: “There were a lot of work to do, and arguments to have, and kids to take care of, and money to find from somewhere and sleep to lose. I wouldn’t be sitting here now if I couldn’t do it, would I?”3 Sam was a regular British teenager before he met Alicia and this entire baby story. But the pregnancy affair has changed his behavior completely. Although he ran away (as any teen boy would do), he returned back and took responsibility. He did not want his son to grow without father. His decision to return can be explained by his strong connection with his mother and the fact that she gave him birth in the same situation as Alicia did. He also did not want to be one of those four men out of five who would lose any contact with their families over 15 years: “That meant that, in fifteen years‟ time, the chances were that I wouldn‟t have anything to do with Roof. I wasn‟t having that”4. He did not want to be like his father. Sam wanted a better future for his son, which already means he felt responsible for him - for the 1 Hornby Nick, Slam. (New York: G.P.Putnam‟s Sons, 2007) 91-92. 2 Ibid, 1. 3 Ibid, 309. 4 Ibid., 282.
    • 4 new life he brought into the world. Sam matured fast, but in a right way. He became a man. Hopefully all teenagers would act like Sam under those circumstances. 2.3. Hornby‟s main arguments about teenage pregnancy. In his book, Hornby shows quite a painful issue of teenage pregnancy and how it influences the life both of parents and their baby. Hornby argues that children/teens do have sex and that parents should take that into consideration and talk to them. The author shows that there are different ways for the further development of events: creating family or going separate ways. In any case, the childhood ends and the adulthood starts right at the moment when the baby is born; so the parents no longer live for themselves, but sacrifice everything for the sake of their baby. On the example of Sam‟s parents, Hornby shows that the premature pregnancy destroys the life of both parents and results in no evolution for the next generation. Another issue challenged in the book is the process of maturity the young boy has to go through in order to take responsibility for a child. Since he had no bright example to follow, he is seeking it in his skating idol. Through this idea, Hornby suggests that nowadays British teenagers have no traditional values to carry and examples to follow; they are too deep into subcultures or popular culture and substitute true values with fake. Also, Hornby challenges efficiency of governmental programmes targeted at teenage pregnancy. Sam, like any other teenager, does not entirely comprehend what those programmes are for. For him, there is no use of them, just signing forms and explaining financial status. Overall, Hornby gives an idea of teenage pregnancy from the perspective of teenagers, making it more comprehendible for them, although giving an adult advice and warning in the book. 3. Teenage Pregnancy in the United Kingdom – as a social phenomenon. 3.1 The main tendencies in teenage pregnancies of the recent years. Teenage pregnancies and early motherhood are very painful issues for society, since they are connected with such negative aspects as poor education achievement, poor physical
    • 5 and mental health, social isolation and poverty5. It is believed that teenage parenthood is the cause and the consequence of the socioeconomic disadvantage. This is a particularly problematic issue for the UK where teenage pregnancy rate is the highest in the Western Europe. According to the governmental report concerning the issue, in 1998 the rate of pregnancies among the age group of 15-17-year-olds was 46.6 conceptions for 1,000 girls6. Since then the government has put a target to halve teenage pregnancies by 2010. The recent years‟ statistical findings show the tendency of an overall decrease in rates, but it is slow and relatively insufficient in comparison to the amount of funding devoted to it7. Against a background of the overall decrease, there are slight variations of data. In 2007, the level was unexpectedly high and the increase occurred for the first time since 2002: 41.9 conceptions for 1,000 girls of 15-17 years old in comparison to 40.9 the year before8. On the other hand, the latest data show that in 2008 the drop occurred, estimating 40.4 per 1,000, which is considered to be quite a successful decrease of 13 percent in comparison to 1998. The decrease among the group of under 16s can be considered the greatest success since it fell 7.6% to 7,577 in comparison to the previous 20079. Although the general tendency is that the 5 Health Development Agency (HDA). Teenage pregnancy and parenthood: a review of reviews.2003, 20 May 2011.<http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/teenpreg_evidence_briefing_ summary.pdf>. 6 Cooke, Rachelle. “Teenagers say yes to everything, and that includes sex”, Guardian, 8 May.2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/08/rachel-cooke-nadine-dorries-sexeducation> 7 Ibid. 8 “Teenage pregnancy rate falls”, BBC News, 24 Feb. 2010, 26 May. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8531227.stm>. 9 Cooke, Rachelle. “Teenagers say yes to everything, and that includes sex”, Guardian, 8 May.2011, 23 May. 2011<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/08/rachel-cooke-nadine-dorries-sexeducation>
    • 6 teenage pregnancy level is decreasing, the speed of this decrease is quite pessimistic and not efficient for improvement of social structure, plus it is far from governmental goal. 3.2. The main reason of teenage pregnancies. Just as any phenomenon, teenage pregnancies and their high level have their own reasons. Depending on the structure of society, cultural and ethnic values, religious views, governmental policies towards issue, economical development of the country and individual‟s self-perception, the reasons for the phenomenon might be various. Among the main reasons for the teenage pregnancies are biological acceleration of teenagers, drug and alcohol use, age difference in relationships, sexual abuse and violence, economic factors, media influence and social environment of a teen. In this paper, attention is paid to two factors resulting in the teenage pregnancies – biological and influence of the social environment10. 3.2.1. Biological process of acceleration. Teenagers‟ comprehension of their sexuality and further sexual behavior can be conditioned by the overall process of acceleration, meaning that with each generation individuals of both sexes become anatomically ready for the sexual interactions much earlier . In other words, teenagers of the current generation reach puberty earlier than teenagers in the generation of their parents11. The problem with the realization of sexual desires and biological readiness for the sexual interaction is in the discrepancy of anatomy with psychological readiness for the sexual life conduct and its consequences12. Another aspect of acceleration that contributes to the high teenage pregnancy is that the young healthy 10 “Teenage pregnancy”, Wikipedia. 24 May. 2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid.
    • 7 organisms are more likely to conceive than carry a child than elder organisms influenced by alcohol, stress, illnesses and psychological responsibilities13. In other words, when teenagers have sex, their bodies are completely targeted on reproduction and are most influenced by the instinct; no conditionality is present. Although the reasons for sexual acceleration are still not clear, the physical ability of girls to conceive, carry and give birth to a child is the main reason or opportunity for the teenage pregnancies to increase. This reason is the one that cannot be resolved by any forces except for nature. 3.2.2. Social environment. Unlike biological acceleration social factors and social environment of teenagers are quite changeable and might be improved in order to prevent early pregnancies. The main factor influencing teenagers and pregnancy is the family environment. Domestic violence, abuse, family strife in childhood are usually the most favorable factors for young girls to get pregnant early14. According to the 2004 survey, 1/3 of teenage pregnancies could have been prevented if family disorder had been eliminated15. This is due to the fact that the psychological traumas gained in the childhood made young girls vulnerable to the influence of other people, particularly mature males that might substitute the lack of care and feeling of stability and safety16. Another impact the family environment might have on a teen is if the family itself was formed because of a teenage pregnancy. Such families are usually quite 13 Hacking, Ian. “Teen Pregnancy: Social Construction?” Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) 76. 14 Health Development Agency (HDA). Teenage pregnancy and parenthood: a review of reviews.2003, 20 May 2011.<http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/teenpreg_evidence_briefing_ summary.pdf>. 15 “Teenage pregnancy”, Wikipedia. 24 May. 2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>. 16 Hacking, Ian. “Teen Pregnancy: Social Construction?” Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) 73.
    • 8 poor and relations are strained, or one of the parents is absent. Due to the lack of a proper example of the family to follow, teens are searching for a possible substitution of cozy environment – disorderly sexual interactions, dependant relations with adults or just desire to rebel and prove they are mature to do mature things17. This situation is also conditioned by the poor education of both parents of such families and lack of stable and sufficient financial income. Thus, young parents are usually unable to give appropriate education and moral values system for their children. Another influential social aspect of teenage early sexual life and further pregnancy is the influence of friends and teenage generation in general. In order to be accepted as one of the “cool community” teens are likely to follow the example of elder teenagers or their coevals who already live sexual life. In this case, sexual act is seen as a sign of maturity and advancement. The whole modern teenage culture believes that virginity is something archaic and irrelevant, and one just needs to get rid of it. Thus, when individuals ask their most trusted friends for advice about sex, they get teenage opinion of the whole culture, rather than factual explanation or reasonable analysis18. Friends are most likely to be an example of behavior other teens follow. In other words, since everyone does it, an individual should do it, as well. The general social environment is another reason for the teenage pregnancies. The British society, with its strict conservative traditions and royal monarchy, together with popular culture of overwhelming consumption, did not manage to create an appropriate system of values for a new generation to follow. Children lack parents‟ attention, which is 17 Cooke, Rachelle. “Teenagers say yes to everything, and that includes sex”, Guardian, 8 May.2011, 23 May. 2011<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/08/rachel-cooke-nadine-dorries-sexeducation>. 18 “Teenage pregnancy”, Wikipedia. 24 May. 2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>.
    • 9 substituted by material goods or complete ignorance. At school, they lack frank talk of their needs and desires. In the society, they lack values and target to follow. In other words, the relevant satisfaction of living standard causes the weakness of new generation that does not think of the future at all. Life becomes too easy for them; they do not have to struggle for anything; thus, they have sex and play with drugs. The consumptive behavior is not a problem exquisitely of the UK, but it is the most vivid there. Freedom of choice without system of values results in social degradation and demoralization of the new generation19. 3.3. Possible implications for young mothers. The phenomenon of teenage pregnancy is socially painful because it results in various negative and hazardous implications towards young mothers and their further role, and their influence in society diminishes. Among the main outlined implications are the medical, psychological, social and financial ones. 3.3.1. Medical complications. The main consequences of the teenage pregnancy are connected with the youth and weakness of mother‟s body and its readiness for carrying child. Among the possible hazards are often miscarriages, premature births, low birth weight, which are much higher than among adolescent mothers20. Particular feature of the teenage pregnancy in comparison to an adult one is that mother‟s body of teenager needs extra nutrition support than a body of adult. Additional nutrition provides normal development of the teen‟s body together with needs of a fetus. That is why the essential part of prenatal care is nutrition counseling. The counseling includes information concerning prenatal vitamins, folic acids, dos and don‟ts of eating and 19 Kliff, Sarah. “Teen Pregnancy, Hollywood Style.” Newsweek., 23 Jul. 2008, 29 May.2011. <http://www.newsweek.com/2008/07/22/teen-pregnancy-hollywood-style.html>. 20 “Teenage pregnancy”, Wikipedia. 24 May. 2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>.
    • 10 drinking21. Inappropriate nutrition might result in anemia of mother and various illnesses of a child. Sometimes miscarriages might result in further sterility or chronic illnesses of the privy parts of a teen mother. 3.3.2. Psychological consequences. If physically body might be more or less ready for the child birth, psychologically girls are not ready for being mothers. Psychologically, they remain children, although with mature problems. Teenage mothers are more likely to suffer from prenatal and postnatal depressions, and the suicidal rate among pregnant teenagers and young mothers is higher than among adult women22. Mothers can withstand all this pressure if they gain understanding and support from families, social assistance and financial support. In any case, their normal maturity is speeded which in the future results in various psychological disorders and depressive states. 3.3.3. Financial insufficiency and dependence. Since teenagers are too young to work and earn money, the costs for their unborn child fall on the shoulders of their parents. Thus, pregnant teen may possibly continue studying and when then child is born to take care over it. In this case, for a very long time she will lose the ability to gain independence and control over her life. In other words, she skips the part of being independent of her parents and goes to the financial dependence from them and responsibility for her child23. Thus, she loses the chance to live for herself and earn 21 Health Development Agency (HDA). Teenage pregnancy and parenthood: a review of reviews.2003, 20 May 2011.<http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/teenpreg_evidence_briefing_ summary.pdf>. 22 “Teenage pregnancy”, Wikipedia. 24 May. 2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>. 23 Davies, Linda, McKinnon, Margaret, and Rains, Prue “ „On My Own‟: A New Discourse of Dependence and Independence from Teen Mothers”. Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) 40.
    • 11 money for her needs. This is not the worst variant. In case there is no family support, a teen mother will have to drop school and start working and depend on social donations in order to support her child. In this case, a teen mother rarely reaches the middle class of the society. The worst case is when this mother is unemployed and lives only of social support. According to one British survey, only 11% of teen mothers are getting salary and 89% are unemployed24 . Most of the British teen mothers live in extreme poverty, and 50% belong to the lowest category of income distribution25. 3.3.4. Social exclusion. Due to the high level of school leaves reasoned by the child birth, poor financial earning of young families and lack of time for the regular teenage social activities, most of the teenage mothers become socially excluded. Excluded not because society does not care for them and gives enough finical support but because they do not belong to any social category or exact group regular teens belong to. Teen mothers usually lose their school friends. This is a normal process since they have no common interests any longer26. Teen mothers are hard to adapt to the mature society both at work and at any other group due to their young age and social disapproval of young pregnancy. Thus, teen mothers are a subject to alienation and development of aggressive behavior in the future. Speaking in strict terms, 24 “Teenage pregnancy and sexual health in the United Kingdom”. Wikipedia.11 Apr. 2011, 23 May. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy_and_sexual_health_in_the_United_Kingdom>. 25 “Teenage pregnancy”, Wikipedia. 24 May. 2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>. 26 Hacking, Ian. “Teen Pregnancy: Social Construction?” Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) 79.
    • 12 they lose their value for society, since they do not follow social rules and do not contribute to the effective development of society27. 4. Governmental policies and counter-measures of media. 4.1. Governmental policies targeting prevention of teenage pregnancies. 4.1.1. Main pro and cons of the governmental policies. The UK governmental policies are targeted at reducing the teenage pregnancy levels and achieving the social inclusion of teens and their parents. This is conducted through the joint programmes and initiatives between various branches of governmental, health and education services. Preventive measures include sex education, improvement of advice services for young people, particularly concerning contraception, involvement of teenagers in service design, supporting parents in their conversations with their children about sex and relationships, paying special attention to the risk-groups. Another field of governmental policy is to support teen mothers financially and help them return to school, provide advice and support services for young parents, childcare assistance and even availability of support houses28 . Although the overall directions of governmental support seem to be quite allinclusive, the results show that those policies turn to be inefficient. The overall tendency of teenage pregnancy decrease is not quite the same in all regions of the country; in some remote areas it has even increased29. The governmental policy of “providing the morning27 Davies, Linda, McKinnon, Margaret, and Rains, Prue “ „On My Own‟: A New Discourse of Dependence and Independence from Teen Mothers”. Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) 43. 28 “Teenage pregnancy”, Wikipedia. 24 May. 2011, 23 May. 2011 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>. 29 “Teenage pregnancy rate falls”, BBC News, 24 Feb. 2010, 26 May. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8531227.stm>.
    • 13 after pill for free and expanding the number of contraceptive services and making condoms widely accessible have seemingly encouraged rather than reduced their incidence”30. Allegedly due to this initiative the infection rates in 16-19-year-olds had raised by 30% since governmental £63 million teenage pregnancy strategy (which includes mentioned initiative) was launched in 199831. 4.1.2. Reasons of policies failures. Among the main reasons for policies‟ failures is an inappropriate rational calculation of teenage needs. In order to improve efficiency of policies application, regional specifics should be taken into account. Since all regions of the UK are treated equally, but the specifics of population and teenagers are different, subsequently, policies have different results. That is why in some regions the teenager rate decreases and in the others increases irrespective of the fact that the same policies are applied32. Another reason for the policies failure is that it targets at the consequences of the problem but does not understand the essential reason. It is the society that creates a favorable environment for teenage pregnancies. Although the need for safeguarding sex is urgent, authorities do not make sex education compulsory at school, because it could cause unfavorable public discussion and result in the lower voting rates. Being a conservative monarchy, the United Kingdom fails to provide their teenagers with system of values that would give them safe growing up and prosperous maturity. The level of social disruption is proved by the fact that the government should assist parents in their 30 Cooke, Rachelle. “Teenagers say yes to everything, and that includes sex”, Guardian, 8 May.2011, 23 May. 2011<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/08/rachel-cooke-nadine-dorries-sexeducation> 31 Ibid. 32 “Teenage pregnancy rate falls”, BBC News, 24 Feb. 2010, 26 May. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8531227.stm>.
    • 14 conversations with their own children33. Of course, the Big Talk might be a challenge for parents, but being frank with their children they invest into successful and complete future and social building. Another thing is that government should rather support normal environment for family existence and development, meaning safe social life, financial stability, employment and education opportunities, rather than sexual contraception availability. Of course, it is necessary to make free access to the contraception products, but it is even more crucial to create an environment where children and teenagers will prefer to wait a couple of years before having sex and would concentrate on study and plans for the future rather than playing adults. 4.2. Teenage pregnancies prevention measures of mass media. Just as government, mass media are trying to help in decreasing the high level of teenage pregnancy. Although the exact percentage of teens that were “saved” by media is unknown, the overall influence of media on teenager is much higher than any school counseling, parents „advice or social workers‟ attempts. The mass media represent the same popular culture the British teenagers belong to, so from their perspective, it is much trustworthy. 4.2.1 Print media, as a means of raising awareness. Print media include books, newspaper and magazine articles, some educative brochures that discuss the problems of teenagers and their specific needs. The problem in this case is not the lack of books or articles in the field, but the lack of teenagers‟ interest in them. Thus, the authors have to make their products interesting, relevant, comprehensible and educative for teenagers. Like in the book “Slam”, Hornby‟s narration on behalf of Sam is fascinatingly comprehensible for teenage readers. It seems like it was written by a teenager. I 33 Hacking, Ian. “Teen Pregnancy: Social Construction?” Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) 79.
    • 15 was catching myself on the thought that I would like to meet this Sam and talk to him about his experience. Although this book might seem awkward to the adult readers, it reaches its main goal to make teens think of the consequences of their sexual life. Among relevant books in this field are “Someone like you” by Sarah Dessen, “The First Part Last” by Angela Johnson, “After” by Amy Efaw, “Smack” by Melvin Burgess and “Annie‟s Baby: Diary of Anonymous, a Pregnant Teenager” by Beatrice Sparks. The most successful and accessible way of printed media influencing teenagers is publishing articles about teenage pregnancy, sexual life, and contraception in the popular teenage magazines. Thus, the probability of teens getting information will rise, since not everyone would be patient to read a book even if it is a fiction. Among British girls magazines are “CosmoGirl”, “Seventeen”, “Sugar Magazine”, “Bliss” etc. Such magazines usually have advisors that answer questions concerning various fields including sex, pregnancy, love, body issues etc. Teens are likely to believe them, so it is better be professional advice. 4.2.2. Movies and television shows, as visualization of possible hazards and Consequences? Movies and TV shows are probably the most influential tool for effecting teenagers. From the movies, they built their perception of sex and love relationship. Since TV is blamed for spoiling new generation through explicit sex scenes, resulting in the teen pregnancy, it can also try to improve the situation by promoting the topic of teen pregnancy and attracting attention to the issue. Movies like “Juno”, “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and TV shows “Baby Borrowers”, “Sixteen and Pregnant” disclose the topic publicly showing the teens perception of life during pregnancy and social issues they have to deal with34. Although the topic becomes public and occurs to be the part of popular culture, its problematic 34 Kliff, Sarah. “Teen Pregnancy, Hollywood Style.” Newsweek., 23 Jul. 2008, 29 May.2011. <http://www.newsweek.com/2008/07/22/teen-pregnancy-hollywood-style.html>.
    • 16 character is not entirely disclosed. All movies and shows avoid the reasons and circumstances under which teens become pregnant; they avoid discussion of contraception and consequences of teen pregnancy; it is never revealed what happens to a teen mother afterwards, what life expects her later35. In other words, those media products of popular culture are glamouring socially painful issue, instead of describing its negative aspects for a teen mother, her child, family and society in general. Thus, instead of raising awareness of the teenagers about hazards of having unprotected sex in the early age, movies and TV shows convince that it is quite normal to make babies while you at your sixteen. Media makes the world look unreal and fantastic, and teenagers, who are the most vulnerable to its effects, tend to substitute glossy images from the TV screen for the real life. In order to raise awareness of the real social events, real people and whole stories of their problem should be shown, not the glossy Hollywood images36. 5. Results of prevention measures and future prospects. 5.1. The current situation from the sociological perspective. From the above mentioned it becomes clear that the current situation in the UK and policies applied by government and efforts made by media turn to be ineffective in improving the current situation of teenage pregnancies. Although the main reasons for teenage pregnancies were outlined, the core conditions for the phenomenon high rate and inefficiency of policies were stated, their sociological perspective remains to be unknown. The problem of teenage pregnancy is conditioned by greater sociological problem of social devaluation of the 35 Ibid. 36 Stanley, Alessandra. “Motherhood‟s Rough Edges Fray in Reality TV” New York Time, 23 Jan.2011, 23 May.2011 <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/arts/television/23moms.html?_r=1&ref=teenagepregnancy>.
    • 17 traditional system of values37. Under the influence of digitalization and mechanization of social life, the interpersonal relations have deteriorated and reached the level of minimal oneand-one dialogues once in a while or telephone conversations. The substitution of human relations by material goods and expression of feelings through the computer screen resulted in distancing of people and lack of understanding between each other. Although the gap between generations was always present, the understanding has never been so hard to reach as it is now. In other words, the most essential problem of British society, item for political arguments in Parliament and subject to public discussion and condemnation – teenage pregnancy is conditioned by mechanization and modernization of lifestyle and lessening of human understanding and attention to each other. In other words, the modern families start to lose spirituality and mutual understanding between family members. 5.2. Possible ways of improvement. Which might be the possible ways of solving the problem under current conditions? From the perspective of spirituality loss, one would think that the best way would be to apply the idea by Nadine Dorries, the Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire. She suggested introducing abstinence for girls at school38. Frankly speaking, I believe those classes will have an opposite effect. The possible way of situation improvement is cooperation of efforts between parents, authorities and media. Parents are the ones to raise their children; they can limit or widen teens‟ perception of right and wrong. They take an active part in lives of their children. Government, first of all, should make sex education at school compulsory. What is the point of pretending modesty if the rate of children making children in UK is the highest 37 Hacking, Ian. “Teen Pregnancy: Social Construction?” Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1999) 80. 38 Cooke, Rachelle. “Teenagers say yes to everything, and that includes sex”, Guardian, 8 May.2011, 23 May. 2011<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/08/rachel-cooke-nadine-dorries-sexeducation>
    • 18 among Western European countries? Secondly, the authorities can make social programmes involving both teens and their parents and work on a family-friendly environment rather than money-making busy society. Thirdly, the government can support some talented screenwriters which would disclose topic without Hollywood gloss. The media should pay more attention to implications of its popular products and include some innovatory ideas in the topics already screened. But on the first place I would put parents and their attempts to understand their children and to be there for them. 6. Conclusion. All in all, the situation in the UK is quite dramatic, and politics and society are mainly addressing themselves to the consequences of the situation but not to its reasons, like social environment, family situation and friends influence that effect teens. The teenage pregnancy is a huge social problem for the country because it affects the well-being and sufficiency of the next generation. Teenage mothers are likely to experience negative medical consequences, psychological disorders, financial dependence and social exclusion due to their early pregnancy. They become socially ineffective and redundant as an item in the state budget. Just as government policies, the efforts of the mass media turn to be quite opposite. If printed media manages to have some positive influence on teenagers, like the book by Nick Hornby, movies and TV shows appear to describe the issue in quite glossy and glamour perspective. Thus, the educative and preventive effect of them diminishes. The possible solution to the problem is seen in cooperation between authorities, parents and media. The main emphasis should be put on parents‟ active participation in lives of their children.
    • 19 Works Cited Cooke, Rachelle. “Teenagers say yes to everything, and that includes sex”, Guardian, 8 May.2011. Web.23 May. 2011.<http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/ 08/rachel-cooke-nadine-dorries-sex-education>. Davies, Linda, McKinnon, Margaret, and Rains, Prue “ „On My Own‟: A New Discourse of Dependence and Independence from Teen Mothers”. Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong . Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press. 1999. 38-52. Print. Hacking, Ian. “Teen Pregnancy: Social Construction?” Teen pregnancy and parenting: social and ethical issues. Eds. David Checkland and JamesWong. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press. 1999. 71-81. Print. Health Development Agency (HDA). Teenage pregnancy and parenthood: a review of reviews.2003.Web.<http://www.nice.org.uk/niceMedia/documents/teenpreg_evidence _briefing_ summary.pdf>. Hornby, Nick. Slam. New York, NY: G.P.Putnam‟s Sons. 2007. Print. Kliff, Sarah. “Teen Pregnancy, Hollywood Style.” Newsweek., 23 Jul. 2008. Web. 29 May. 2011. <http://www.newsweek.com/2008/07/22/teen-pregnancy-hollywoodstyle.html>. Stanley, Alessandra. “Motherhood‟s Rough Edges Fray in Reality TV” New York Time, 23 Jan.2011. Web. 23 May.2011. < http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/23/arts/television/ 23moms.html?_r=1&ref=teenagepregnancy>. “Teenage pregnancy”, 24 May. 2011. Web. 23 May. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy>. “Teenage pregnancy rate falls”, BBC News, 24 Feb. 2010. Web. 26 May. 2011. <http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/8531227.stm>.
    • 20 “Teenage pregnancy and sexual health in the United Kingdom”. 11 Apr. 2011.Web. 23 May. 2011.<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_pregnancy_and_sexual_health_in_the_ United_Kingdom>.