The two researchers, Nichols and Good, continue, "Teen pregnancies are an acute national problem because when young girls have children, the risk of poor developmental outcomes, such as poverty or lost career and educational opportunities, increases substantially for both mother and child" (Nichols, and Good 101). Thus, the cycle of poverty could continue through generations, all because of teen pregnancy. Many minority women do not have the resources to get birth control, which is another cause of teen pregnancy in minorities and poverty-stricken areas. This is one area that society could intervene, and create more awareness for teens in poverty-stricken areas, and create more educational opportunities for new, young mothers, so they can continue their education and break the cycle of poverty. Another social problem of teen sex is that studies show it can lead to decreased interest in school and other activities. Another author notes, "Early teen sex is associated with a higher probability of suspension, a higher probability of unexcused absences from school, a lessened affinity for school, and reduced aspirations to attend college" (Sabia), and all of those results can lead to an increased drag on the social services of a community, too.
Another problem with teen sex is the growing popularity of oral sex. Many young teens are engaging in oral sex, and some of them do not seem to understand that it is a sexual act, and it can lead to STDs and many other health and emotional problems. The two researchers quote an educator, "I see girls, seventh and eighth graders, even sixth graders, who tell me they're virgins, and they're going to wait to have intercourse until they meet the man they'll marry. But then they've had oral sex 50 or 60 times. it's like a goodnight kiss to them, how they say good bye after a date'" (Nichols, and Good 100). Most teens prefer to get their sexual education from their parents, but most parents want the educational system to provide it, and that may be why so many young people are having such new and different sexual experiences and not understanding they are sex. They are not getting education from either source, and so, they are "making it up," themselves, in many cases.
Another surprising statistic is that teens with friends who are older or are in grades ahead of them are more likely to have sex. A study indicates, "Results also showed that preteens with friends in higher grades were more likely to have sex in early adolescence. Going steady in early adolescence was linked as well to having sex as a young teen" ("Teen Sex Linked to"). Thus, parents play an important role in not only educating their children, but monitoring their children and their friends. Teen sex is ultimately the responsibility of the teens who engage in it, but parental control can go a long way in monitoring activities, and getting more parents actively involved in their kid's lives could help society manage teen sex and pregnancy problems more effectively.
Abortions have dropped in the last decade, too, which seems like a very good result of increased sexual awareness on the part of many teens. There are also abstinence programs that urge teens to sign pledges to remain abstinent throughout school and until they are married, and these have had some success in many areas. Thus, educational and other programs have helped decrease pregnancy and abortion in teens, and more programs like this might lead to even better results in the future. America has to continue to deal with teen pregnancy and sex because it can lead to so many other social and personal problems, and these can lead to everything from disease to poverty and even death. Teen sex is more than a moral issue, it is a societal issue, and perhaps it should be treated more like a societal issue to get more information across to the kids who need it most.
Editors. "U.S. Teen Sexual Activity." Kaiser Family Foundation. 2005. 18 Nov. 2008. http://www.kff.org/youthhivstds/upload/U-S-Teen-Sexual-Activity-Fact-Sheet.pdf
Nichols, Sharon L., and Thomas L. Good. America's Teenagers -- Myths and Realities: Media Images, Schooling, and the Social Costs of Careless Indifference. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.
Sabia, Joseph J. "Early Adolescent Sex and Diminished School Attachment: Selection or Spillovers?" Southern Economic Journal…