How to prevent teenage pregnancy is a question that often has many parents frustrated and looking for support. Our schools are one of the most obvious environments to support both students and parents. Right now depending on the state you live, programs vary quite a bit in the information they provide. Is school an effective place to teach about sexual health, teenage pregnancy, and reproduction?
Why Are Schools Important To Teenage Pregnancy Rates
While teenage pregnancy rates have been declining since the 1990’s, there are still many instances of teenage pregnancy. School is one of the few consistent sources to receive medically accurate information about reproduction. For many teenagers, school is the only way they learn about reproduction and sex. While the in the home is still the primary way most teens are getting information about sex and health as we discussed in the post 3 MAJOR Facts That Influence Teenage Pregnancy, schools are second on the list for teaching teenagers about health and their bodies.
What Choices Are Teenagers Making
While teenage pregnancy birth rates are going down, there are some other staggering statistics about the risky decisions teenagers are making. According to a survey by the Center for Disease, Control and Prevention in 2013:
- 34% of the teens surveyed had sex in the past three months since they took the questionnaire.
- Of those students who were sexually active, 41% did not use a condom.
- Only 22% of the sexually active students surveyed noted that they had been tested for HIV.
Many teens are still engaging in risky behavior. Should parents be engaging their teens in conversations about their personal beliefs about sex, relationships and health ways to show affection? Absolutely! The challenge is while teenagers do value your opinion, hearing information from several sources can help them to feel supported in making better choices.
What Can Schools Do To Prevent Teenage Pregnancy
One of the first things we can do to help prevent teenage pregnancy is to provide a comprehensive approach to sex education in schools. By enriching these programs to include a fuller picture such as abstinence, contraceptives and medical information about how the body works, teenagers can more confidently make good choices about their relationships and future.
The Guttmacher Institute reports that:
- 37 states require abstinence is included in sex-education
- 18 states require that information about contraceptives
- 13 states require that information about sex education be medically accurate
That last statistic hits me hard that we are not always teaching medically accurate information about sex to teenagers. If you cannot learn medically accurate information about your body in a health class, how can teens possibly be expected to make smart choices?
In the same information, 55% of teens reports looking up information online to learn more about sexual health issues for themselves or a friend. Is it better to have teenagers cruising the web and very possibly finding information that is incorrect?
Schools have a lot on their plates, but health and sex education programs that are comprehensive can help us answer the question “how do we prevent teenage pregnancy?” What do you think we can do in schools to prevent teenage pregnancy?
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