Media ethics and its harm limitation principles How do they influence society’s perception on teen pregnancy?


Media ethics have certain values and standards of broadcasting. For example the media is cautious about disseminating certain information about juvenile problems and balancing the right to inform and the obligation to observe the right to privacy. Pregnancy, for instance is seen as a private and sensitive matter within a family and many chose not to share their personal experiences.

In media ethics, there are self-regulations such as the America Press Council, advertising agencies and the Federal Communications Commissions that protect and inhibit too much research made on these mothers under the age of eighteen. Their code of practice states: “It has a statutory duty to further what it considers the interest of citizens and consumers by promoting competition and protecting consumers from what it considers harmful or offensive material”.

Nevertheless, media has successfully overcome this issue and used rather comic and ironic TV shows such as Glee (2009-2015) which is an exaggerated caricature of a high school soap that looks into social concerns such as teen pregnancy, race, and homosexuality, making the show more appealing to society. However, there are many questions as to what the responsibilities involved in creating such shows.

After World War II, figures showed that half a million teens gave birth annually by the late 1950s. In 2013, a total of 273,105 babies were born to women aged 15–19 years. This is a record low for U.S. teens in this age group, and a drop of 10% from 2012.Yet, the media and films still portray inaccurate pictures of teenage pregnancies rates and continue to feed their audience false illusions.

Teenage pregnancy usually carries a social stigma in many cultures and communities. Factors such as poverty, lower educational levels and poorer life outcomes in children of teenage mothers is often associated with teen age pregnancy. Nevertheless, this fluctuates by ethnicity. . Another great example is Juno (2007). The movie is about a teen that is told not to have sex by her parents, but decides to have sex with her boyfriend regardless. Interestingly, she is not facing peer pressure or living up to social expectation. It is simply a curious girl who falls in love with another teen and wonders what it is like to have sex, after being told not to by her parents. As a society, I believe we have the responsibility of reducing unwanted pregnancies without stigmatizing young teens who get pregnant.

While exercising their noble role of informing and educating the mass, media’s ethical standards are sometimes disputed because of some degree of stereotypes, which can affect people’s perceptions and attitudes positively or negatively.

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