Is MTV’s Hit Show Teen Mom Encouraging Teen Pregnancy?
In case you’ve spent your entire Christmas vacation catching up on Season 2 of MTV’s reality TV show, Jersey Shore, there’s something you should know: MTV also has another reality TV show that’s made almost as much noise as the Shore in 2010—so you might want to take a couple extra days off.
There’s no Snooki or Situation, no fist-pumping and certainly no boozing going on during this reality TV show. Instead, MTV’s Teen Mom—a show that was birthed (pun very much intended) as a spin-off of another popular MTV show, 16 and Pregnant—took the boob tube by storm this year and has turned into such a hit MTV is already planning another brand-new season of it.
The storyline behind Teen Mom is relatively simple and about what you would expect. A group of teens who have recently given birth get followed by MTV’s cameras to see what their daily lives are like. MTV documents their troubles, shows where and how they get their money, and—overall—makes it look pretty crummy to be a teen mom. From MTV’s standpoint, it’s both entertaining and informative for teens to watch Teen Mom.
Only problem? They might also be unintentionally having a negative effect on those teens watching it, as well. In a recent story first reported on AOL’s PopEater, a source revealed MTV is looking to ride out the success of Teen Mom—and 16 and Pregnant—by finding a new crop of teen moms willing to have their lives taped by the network. Of course, to do that they’ll need a new crop of teens with babies on the way. And in order to land a role on one of the two MTV shows, there have reportedly been some overeager teen girls willing to get pregnant simply to score an audition. Not to be on the show—to score an audition!
And this presents an interesting dilemma for MTV. On the one hand, they’ve got a hit show on their hands and a winning idea they’d probably like to continue in order to bank off of it. However, this Teen Mom thing has also sparked a bit of a phenomenon. In a world where everyone seems to be looking to get famous, whether by doing something super meaningful in their lives or simply landing an audition for a reality TV show, MTV has to realize they may be doing teens a disservice by holding open auditions for shows like Teen Mom. They may actually be encouraging teens to use pregnancy to get a shot at fame.
As ridiculous as it sounds, it’s not really that crazy to think teens would do this, is it? Every year, we see people go above and beyond the normal call of duty to try and land a slot of shows like American Idol and Real World. We see people willing to embarrass themselves for a chance to get their 15 minutes of fame. Hell, just take a look at a show like Jersey Shore. It’s popular and has made its’ cast members millionaires, but at what cost?
That’s what MTV needs to think about as they move forward with Teen Mom, 16 and Pregnant and any other show involving teen pregnancy. While they may think they’ve doing a service with this type of programming and making money for themselves in the process, we’re already starting to see the negative effects a show like this can have. Every time we’re standing the supermarket aisle and see one of the Teen Mom mothers on the cover of a tabloid, we understand Teen Mom is not just depicting the struggles of a young teen mom. It’s also turning young teen moms into superstars and, in a way, encouraging teen pregnancy.
We’re not saying MTV needs to shut down the show. They just need to make sure they’re handling the auditioning process for it responsibly. Don’t hold open auditions for it. Screen all participants carefully. And do your best to avoid making teen pregnancy seem glamourous in any way. Otherwise, you’re not just showcasing a growing problem in the United States. You’re actually becoming part of a growing problem in the United States.
For once, it almost makes Jersey Shore looks harmless, huh?