MTV's hit series "16 and Pregnant" returns in March, and The Christian Post has obtained the new season's trailer.
The show focuses on teen mothers as they make decisions about pregnancy, relationships and the future. MTV's website states: "Each story offers a unique look into the wide variety of challenges pregnant teens face ... Faced with incredibly adult decisions, these girls are forced to sacrifice their teenage years and their high school experiences."
When it first premiered in 2009, many thought of it as a short-lived reality show on MTV. But the series took off and gained increasing popularity and criticism, even spinning off two series that follow families originally profiled on "16 and Pregnant." "Teen Mom" and "Teen Mom 2" have documented the lives of eight girls as their children and lives grow and change.
Parents and psychologists disagree as to the show's influence on young girls, with many fearing that it encourages the girls to become pregnant at a young age. Yet others, including educators, are using the show as a catalyst for discussions about sex and pregnancy.
Megan Clark, a teacher in the Midwest, told The New York Times, "They're sucked into the drama of it [the show] but they see that they don't ever want to be in that situation. I talk about abstinence first and foremost, but I listen to them, so I know they're not abstinent. So the show offers a good opportunity to teach them about condoms and birth control."
In addition to being sponsored by MTV, "16 and Pregnant" and "Teen Mom" offer the opportunity for viewers to go to its website and learn more about pregnancy and prevention.
One site, StayTeen.org, encourages teens to "enjoy your teen years and avoid the responsibilities that come with too-early pregnancy and parenting." The site is sponsored by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Viewers will also find information from On Your Feet, a foundation that works with young parents who choose adoption for their children. According to an article by Jennifer Grant, "Powerful words, effective social commentary—and for many, good advice. Teen viewers can't help but hear the words as wise counsel from a peer."
"MTV may not go down in history as the network that best encouraged young viewers to make wise choices and live responsibly. But two of its most popular shows, '16 and Pregnant' and its 'Teen Mom' spinoffs, just might be promoting— ironically and unintentionally— a few moral lessons after all," Grant writes.