A television show is being credited with helping to reduce teen pregnancy. The Los Angeles Times’ Show Tracker reports that MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” reality show, which has come under criticism for glamorizing teen pregnancy, has apparently helped reduce the number of teen pregnancies.
In the 18 months after the show’s 2009 debut, an increase in Web searches related to the series led to a 5.7% decrease in the number of teen births in the U.S., according to a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
The study, from Phillip Levine, a professor of economics at Wellesley College, and Melissa Kearney, a professor of economics at the University of Maryland, examined data from Twitter, Google Trends and Nielsen ratings data.
“This is sex education for the 21st century. This is a show that very clearly exemplifies what life is going to be like in the aftermath of having a baby at such a young age,” Levine told NBC News.
The show’s success has spawned several spinoffs, including “Teen Mom 1-3,” the story notes. MTV has renewed “16 and Pregnant” for a fifth season, although there’s no airdate yet.