16 and Pregnant

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
16 and Pregnant TV Poster Image
Teen pregnancy docu is more voyueristic than informative.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 12 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 23 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show is nonjudgmental in its approach, but is clearly told from the young mothers' point of view. While it does highlight some of the harsh realities of having a baby at 16, it also focuses a lot on relationship problems.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some of the teen moms demonstrate maturity, but many appear more concerned about their relationships with their unborn baby's father than with impending motherhood. The babies' fathers are often presented as ill equipped and/or unwilling to handle parenthood. Several young mothers contemplate giving their babies up for adoption. The teen moms (and dads) are from various racial/ethnic groups and socio-economic backgrounds.

Violence

Nothing physical, but there's frequent arguing between young parents (and sometimes their families).

Sex

Lots of references to sex (specifically teen sex) and getting pregnant. Sometimes mild metaphors like "doing the hokey pokey" are used; more explicit descriptions are bleeped. There are brief discussions about the process of giving birth (water breaking, dilation, epidurals, etc.) The pregnant teens are often shown being examined by doctors or delivering, but there's no nudity.

Language

Words like "damn" and "hell" are audible, while stronger words are bleeped.

Consumerism

Brands like Huggies diapers and Good Start baby formula are clearly visible. Music by bands like Coco B's, Last Days of April, and Eugene is featured, accompanied by recommendations to go to the MTV Web site to download the tunes.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Alcohol (beer) is occasionally visible. Some of the teen fathers go out partying with friends at bars and clubs while the young moms stay at home.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series about teen pregnancy highlights the difficulties associated with being pregnant and becoming a young mother. Discussions about sex include metaphors like "doing the hokey pokey" and stronger references that are bleeped out (salty language beyond words like "hell" and "damn" is also bleeped). While the series doesn't really offer any new information on the subject of teen pregnancy -- at times focusing more on relationship drama than issue-related content -- it can potentially serve as a starting point for parents to talk to teens about sex and its consequences.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byda1uenvy28 November 21, 2011

This show should be cancelled

16 and pregnant from my point of view is just telling teens to go and have babies so they can have their own really show, the first time i saw this show was in... Continue reading
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byfcr April 12, 2011

Bad Behavior

I believe that this show sends the wrong message. It rewards bad behavior with fame or infamy depending on your personal viewpoint.
Teen, 15 years old Written byreviewgirl13 February 18, 2011

Junk that's not worth watching

MTV's "16 and Pregnant" isn't really reality. Yeah, it shows teenagers who are pregnant, but that's basically it. In fact, I saw on... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byDogcat May 8, 2020

What's the story?

16 AND PREGNANT follows six high school girls as they cope with the challenges of being pregnant and becoming parents. Each episode follows one girl as she approaches her due date, delivers, and faces her new life. Throughout the process, each young mom-to-be candidly discusses her choice to have the baby, how she feels about being pregnant, and how she's handling the transition from carefree teenager to "mature" parent. Each girl's partner, friends, and family are also along for the ride, weighing in as they adjust to her -- and their -- new role.

Is it any good?

The show clearly underscores the tremendous impact of getting pregnant and having. But other than showing the expected pitfalls that come with having a child at such a young age, it isn't very enlightening. It also seems to intentionally focus on the problems between the young mothers and their babies' fathers, their friends, and their parents, creating moments that are more voyueristically melodramatic than informative. As a result, the realities of being pregnant and having a child at such a young age almost become secondary as the young moms try to work out their relationship issues.

While the show is relatively non-judgmental, its storytelling style makes it hard to really understand what exactly viewers are supposed to feel after watching. Still, thanks to the controversy surrounding teen pregnancy -- as well as young people's natural curiosity about the topic -- it's very likely that teens will want to watch. 16 and Pregnant may not be the best viewing choice on the subject, but the good news is that it still has the potential to generate constructive conversations about some of the choices teens are making about sex, relationships, and dealing with the consequences of their actions.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the messages that the media sends about sex and sexual behavior. How do TV shows and movies tend to portray pregnant and/or sexually active teens? Are these portrayals realistic? What pressures do teens face when it comes to when it comes to having sex? Aside from pregnancy, what are some of the other consequences that teens face when they choose to engage in sexual activity? How about when they choose not to?

TV details

  • Premiere date: June 11, 2009
  • Network: MTV
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-14
  • Available on: DVD, Streaming
  • Last updated: September 20, 2019

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