Ordinarily, I’m a great believer in apple 5 unlocked shame. I know it sounds harsh, but in a world of juiced cyclists, randy golfers, crooked pols and telegenic tramps, a dram of humiliation may be the last refuge of the virtuous. Not only can a robust sneer prove fortifying, it can often alter, eversodiscretely, the behavior of the belligerently vulgar.
Those limits were tested last month, when the City of New York began a pointed campaign to reduce teen pregnancy. Its $400,000 campaign, two years in the making, featured a distressedlooking, curly haired baby, apple 5 unlocked tearfully saying “I’m twice as likely not to graduate high school because you had me as a teen.” A similar poster features a darkskinned girl looking heavenward and saying, “Honestly Mom. Chances are he won’t stay with you. What happens to me?”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office defended the images, telling The New York Times it was “past time” to be “value neutral” about teenage pregnancy. The mayor insisted it was important to “send a strong message that teen pregnancy has consequences and those consequences are extremely negative, lifealtering and most often disproportionately borne by young women.”
All true. Teen pregnancy results in apple 5 unlocked lower educational achievement for both mother and child only about 50 percent of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22, thrusting both into an abyss of poverty that is maddeningly difficult to escape. A child born to an unmarried teenage mother who didn’t finish high school is nine times more likely to be poor than a child born to a married, adult highschool graduate. The children of teen mothers are more likely to have lower school achievement, more cognitive and developmental problems, become incarcerated as teens, give birth as teens and face unemployment as young adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
And that costs us. The CDCP estimates that teen pregnancy and childbirth accounted for nearly $11 billion per year.
So, you might say to yourself: Well, let’s really press the point. Let’s shame these sexstarved kitty cats into chastity. Let’s show them just how rotten their unbridled lust makes life for their illfated progeny. After all, as Richard V. girls between 15 and 19 became pregnant. That represents a 42 percent drop since 1990.
Still, there are pockets of real concern. Hartford, where 15 percent of all births last year were to teenage girls, continues to be an outlier, as does Waterbury, where 12 percent of all births were to teen mothers nearly twice the state average (In Torrington, the figure is 7 percent). But even in Hartford, the numbers have fallen from 2008, when the percentage of births to teens was 19 percent, says Rosemary Richter of the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
And shaming teens into abstinence or at least safe sex is unlikely to help, she says. “I’m not aware of any data that shows that money expended on public awareness campaigns has any impact on preventing pregnancy,” Richter says. “Some people like these flashy resources. But think about it, if you’re one of these kids, you’re thinking ‘It’s not me. I’m not the one it’s going to happen to.’ That’s the adolescent mindset.”
What does work? Consider New Britain’s Pathways/Senderos Center, a teenpregnancy prevention program that takes highrisk youth, beginning at age 11 or 12, and provides them a place where they get the comfort, attention, nutrition and resources they are not getting at home. In 19 years, 100 percent of its students have graduated and 97 percent have remained pregnancy free compared to a 17 percent teen pregnancy rate in New Britain.
Imagine if we could get more kids believing the future was not a brick wall but a vast pasture of possibilities. Shame won’t do it. Indeed, shame and despair a sense that life is over before it has begun is what gets too many of these teens pregnant to begin with.
We need to tell teenagers the hard truth about having a baby. But to use a baby to humiliate a teenager may have consequences we do not intend. It is not persuasive. It’s just shameful. But Samsung’s new phone isn’t the only new mobile device coming out in the next few months that could pose a threat to the iPhone 5. We take a look at how the iPhone 5 specifications compare with three upcoming devices that could take a bite out of Apple’s market share. should be unafraid to use its entire arsenal (18)Police: Waterbury man sexually assaulted underage girl (16)Senators revive hysteria over global warming (15)Get out of jail free card possible for parolees (12)Search of home finds pot, gun, pills.
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