A new, somehow legitimate-sounding study found that MTV’s reality show 16 and Pregnant and its spinoff Teen Mom may be reducing the number of teen pregnancies among their viewers.
The study, conducted by Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine for the National Bureau of Economic Research, concludes that “16 and Pregnant led to more searches and tweets regarding birth control and abortion, and ultimately led to a 5.7 percent reduction in teen births in the 18 months following its introduction. This accounts for around one-third of the overall decline in teen births in the United States during that period.”
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As the New York Times reported, the two researchers “examined birth records and Nielsen television ratings, finding that the rate of teenage pregnancy declined faster in areas where teenagers were watching more MTV programming — not only the ‘16 and Pregnant‘ series — than in areas where they did not. The study focuses on the period after ‘16 and Pregnant‘ was introduced in 2009 and accounts for the fact that teenagers who tuned in to the show might have been at higher risk of having a child to begin with.”
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According to CNN, Kearney said that “the most compelling evidence came from the teens’ social media language,” which would say things like “This reminds me to take my birth control,” and “Watching 16 & Pregnant, going to take my birth control.”
So, does this mean that Catfish will lead to less lying on the internet?
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