16 and Pregnant

Common Sense Media says

Teen pregnancy docu is more voyueristic than informative.

Age(i)

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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

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

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.

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.

Parents say

Kids say

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Network:MTV
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-14
Available on:DVD, Streaming

This review of 16 and Pregnant was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byreviewgirl13 February 18, 2011
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

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 "People" magazine of the girls holding their babies while smiling and wearing stunning dresses. So this goes to show you that "reality" shows aren't really reality at all. These girls are rich. In the real world, you wouldn't be walking down the red carpet in a $6,000 dollar dress with a baby. You wouldn't be on the cover of an extremely popular magazine. You wouldn't have your own TV show, therefore you wouldn't get all that money to help take care of your child. In reality, this is what would REALLY happen: You'd become pregnant, your parents would be so angry at you for making such a stupid mistake, you'd go through an awful birth, you wouldn't be able to do anything or go anywhere because you have a baby now, you wouldn't have tons of money to buy fabulous clothes for you and your child, you wouldn't be on the cover of a magazine, you'd be absolutely miserable, you would have no one to help you take care of the baby besides your parents, you'd gain a ton of weight and wouldn't be able to fit into Aeropostale clothes anymore!! That's the truth and this show does not show this. It's too glamorous............
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 16 years old Written byB_A_N December 11, 2011
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Teenage mother myself

im 16 and have a baby. let me just say, all those who think your life is always miserable after having a kid as a teen, you are misguided. granted, many times it DOESNT work out. but seriously, saying that your going to drop out or never have a life or never be happy again, sorry for saying it, but thats freaking stupid. i take care of my baby when im not in school, and im going to go to college in town. me and my boyfriend have been together for years, and he never once backed out on me. we both love our son to death. BUT i will say this. i dont like the fact that this show makes teens famous for becoming pregnant. i will say that i dont think that sends a good message. on the other hand, it does show the consequences that most of the time DO happen to teenage mothers. but please dont think this is always the case. I love being a mother, and i wouldnt trade it for anything.
Kid, 11 years old July 27, 2010
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

I love the show!!

I Watch this show all the time, and I think it really gives a message about what happens when you have "Sex" As a teen and the consequences of being unprotected. The show says some swares, but many are bleeped out. Some of the episodes show the teens leaving there babie's with there moms to go out to party, and some make bad chooses. Anyone who is 11 to adults should watch this.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing

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