The last thing you want for your teenage child is an unplanned pregnancy. Parents and teachers alike share that sentiment. The type of sex education teenagers receive is another matter–one often filled with argument and debate. One camp believes that teenagers should practice abstinence and teaches children to just say “No.” The other camp believes that sex education and teaching about birth control is more effective than trusting a teen to simply say “no.”
Abstinence vs. Sex Ed
Science Daily reports that a 2002 national survey published in the “Journal of Adolescent Health” found that teenagers who received comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to get pregnant or to impregnate somebody than teenagers who did not receive sex education at all. Teenagers who received education only about abstinence were 30 percent less likely to get pregnant or to impregnate somebody than teenagers who did not receive any type of sex education. While these numbers may show a trend, Science Daily reports that they are statistically insignificant.
Use of Birth Control
From 1991 to 2000, teen pregnancies declined, according to the Health Communities website. During those years, condom use by teenagers significantly increased. This statistic strengthens the argument that sex education and education about birth control effectively reduce teen pregnancy.
What is Effective Sex Ed?
An effective sex education program in school consists of teaching teens how to avoid risky sexual behavior and how to use birth control correctly, according to the Health Communities website. Teenagers need help to develop their communication and sexual decision-making skills. Many teens say that they did not plan to get pregnant. In fact, the National Campaign says that one in three pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, many of which are teenage pregnancies.
Sex Ed Benefits
The National Campaign advocates sex education for teenagers. This group has an action plan that includes working with policymakers at the national and state levels, supporting information and education, encouraging consistent family planning methods by all who are sexually active, encouraging healthy relationships and emphasizing the role of men in pregnancy prevention.
The National Campaign found that 90 percent of the public supports providing more education to teenagers. This education should stress taking sex and pregnancy seriously. Teens need to learn about personal responsibility and about contraception. The National Campaign points out that the teen years are a critical place to begin sex education. The best approach, the National Campaign believes, is to encourage teens to delay sexual activity. But if that is not an option, teens should practice family planning, meaning birth control. Is comprehensive sex ed taught at your teen’s school or do they emphasize abstinence only?
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