Preventing teen pregnancy with your iPhone

One of my new passions is teen pregnancy prevention and teen parenting. I love helping teen parents figure out a game plan for their life, reaching goals they thought they would never reach.

But I also think that a lot of the teens who are “at-risk” (I hate that term) for getting pregnant are the ones who do so for the wrong reasons. So if I can help those girls (and guys) figure out a way to avoid what is most certainly an 18 years to life sentence, all the better.

When I saw this little tidbit from the LilSugar blog, about a new iPhone app called “Crying Baby,” it made me stop and wonder what the heck is this trying to accomplish? Read more:

The Candie’s Foundation is introducing a free 30-second “Crying Baby” iPhone app featuring a crying baby that cannot be turned off. The app, ending with taglines such as “Now imagine this in the middle of the night,” is aimed at educating teens that a baby is a lifelong commitment. They are issuing a call to action on May 5 to download the app and are aiming to get 100,000 teens to download “Crying Baby.”

Really. An iPhone app is going to prevent teenage pregnancy? Okay, if you say so.

What really makes me upset, though, is this ad:

“I never thought I would be a statistic”? UGH!!!!! Girl, no. Just.stop. Do not pass Go. Go straight to Alaska and stay there and don’t come out until you learn the difference between effective and ineffective teenage pregnancy prevention campaigns, okay? Don’t lend your name to this foolishness.

I have no problem with Bristol being outspoken about abstinence. But this is pushing my buttons. Calling yourself a statistic? Girl, ANYONE can be a statistic about anything.

Heck, I bought a house – now I’m a statistic. I belong to the group of people who own homes in the US.

I have a college degree – STATISTIC! I have an IUD – STATISTIC!  

Not wanting to be a teen parent shouldn’t be about statistics. Being a “statistic” implies shame and wrongdoing and a hopelessness about your situation. This is not right. I don’t want to encourage teens to be pregnant, but at the same time, teen pregnancy will always be an issue. I firmly believe that.

So how do we help the girls who are already parents? Do we shame them and hold them up as examples of what NOT to do? Which is basically what happens all over. Look at the ad above.

What could be effective? The new iPhone app is basically just the 2010 version of the high schoolers carrying around eggs as their “babies” – was that effective?

Also, my other gripe – where are the ads and nationwide campaigns aimed squarely at teen boys? What are we doing so that they think twice before they impregnate someone? How can we stress to the guys that sex is not to be taken lightly, that every time you lay down with someone, a baby could (and probably will) result?

For all the teen moms who read the blog (and even those who aren’t), is there anything that would have made you think twice about having sex?


  1. SO aggree with you on this. Both of those ads are pointless…a 30 second crying baby? Wow. Its kind of a mockery, isn’t it? Or at least…it feels that way to me.

    You are right! I think there needs to be ads directed at boys too. And the ads directed at girls? Don’t need to shame them.

    I’m not so sure what would have prevented me from having sex. Unfortunately, I had that “it won’t happen to me” mindframe that so many of us (teens) get.

    Obviously, that mindframe is completely gone NOW. But I’m not sure which ad would have gotten through to me with it back then!

  2. Well, I got pregnant just 3 months before my 18th birthday, so I’m a teen mom. And I know that this rediculous iPhone app would never have deterred me. Its a freaking phone that just makes noise, for crying out loud! Its not going to act like a real baby. And if the noise of the phone is irritating you or happening at a bad time, you just shove it in your purse or under a pillow and problem solved. You sure can’t do that with a baby. My sophomore year of high school I was in a child development class where we were responsible for computer baby dolls for 24 hours – even that didn’t deter me. It was easy to take care of the dolls. They cry, you put a key in their back and they stop. Sure, it might take a few tries to get the correct key, since we had several to choose from (like “burp” “feed” “diaper” “play” etc.) but it didn’t act like a real baby. I’ve been around kids all my life, and my two (horrible) stepsisters were both teen parents who left me as the main babysitter while they went to party. So I know what its like to take care of a real baby, and real toddlers. That didn’t deter me either. I think maybe the only thing that might have deterred me would be if I were on that show The Baby Borrowers – did you ever watch that? It was on NBC a year or so ago. They only made one season. But something like that might have deterred me. I’m sad they didn’t continue with the episodes. And yeah, where are the campaigns aimed at teen boys? Its rediculous that all the blame and responsibility is shoved on the girls, not the boys who helped put them in that position.

  3. Cheryl says:

    Back when I was a teen dating Fred Flintstone, when it seemed like we were getting hot and heavy, my mom made me volunteer at a Headstart program. This particular program cared for the children of alot of teen moms – not sure if it was by design or coincidence. Anyway, I got to speak with the moms, and they all had the same thing to say “I love my daughter/son, but I wish I would have had them later, much later”. It really impacted me.

  4. I’d be interested in knowing your thoughts on the Teen Mom, Sixteen and Pregnant series on MTV. My husband and I constantly debate whether it glorifies teen pregnancy or shows a real side to it. I was not a teen mom but I constantly try to channel 16 year old-me and figure out what I would have thought – its tough with such personal consequences. A crying baby seems like the least of the problems for a teen Mom. Oh – and AMEN to the teen boy ad campaigns!! When I found out about having another boy, my hub would constantly comment on how boys were easier because they “couldn’t get pregnant.” That would really upset me because I would hope we would hold our boys to the same standards of responsibility if they were to parent a child. I think he got the point ;-).

  5. Ms. Prince says:

    I think if boys were targeted just as much as girls we could probably curb teen pregancy.

    • @Ms. Prince – I don’t know why teen boys aren’t targeted. It’s like people forget that it takes TWO to make a baby.

  6. Emerald says:

    I just really hate when people treat teen pregnancy like a disease (similar to the statistic thing). I had my son at 16, and I’m now turning 18 and he’s turning 2, and there is certainly nothing wrong with us. I HATE that word ‘prevention’. It makes me feel like my son is cancerous or something.

    Honestly, no there was not something that would have made me think twice.
    Teens will have sex. Teens will get pregnant. No matter how many campaigns are out there to stop it, it will continue to happen for the rest of time. Could the number be reduced? I’m sure. But it’s not just going to stop.

    And I love my son very dearly, and I’m GLAD I didn’t wait! He is here now and he completes me. I was on a bad road before I had him, but he straightened things out for me. I have a wonderful fiancée (who is a wonderful father), a beautiful, happy, smart, and healthy son, and I have a direction in my life (which is more then I can say for most people my age).

    Do I encourage teens to get pregnant? No. But I don’t regret my son for one second, and I never have.

    • @Emerald – Hmmm, I never really thought of the negative connotation the word “prevention” has. It does treat pregnancy like a disease, something we need to “get rid of.” I agree, teen pregnancy will always happen. Always. We just need to make sure that teen moms have the support they need going forward. Period.

  7. I’m not a teen mother, but I lived in a town where there was a very high percentage of teen pregnancies, and one of the reasons I wasn’t one of them was because of how my mom had the “sex talk”.

    She didn’t sit me down. She never explained the birds and bees. She didn’t ask if I was having sex (I won’t lie… I’m not sure if I was, but I did start in high school). She didn’t threaten my life. She didn’t hit ANY of the cliche’s or stereotypes. We were in a target store. We passed the condoms. She told me to let her know when I’m ready to start carrying one, because if it’s going to happen, it’s not just the guy’s responsibility to have one. She also gave me a brief lesson on the fertility in our family, and how extremely easy it was for her to get pregnant (2 were planned, although the oldest happened earlier than expected, I was planned and happened immediately, and the third was a surprise). I swear to you I have never forgotten that talk or the fact that I could be just as fertile as her. It was enough for me to make sure I was as safe as possible.

    I like the idea of trying to prevent teen pregnancy, but to be honest, I’m not sure how effective commercials and aps can be. It needs to be something that is more personal, like my situation (and man did it WORK). Plus, I think some of the sex ed classes need to change. Kids need to know how to be safe. Abstinence only education is extremely ineffective.

    • @Lynzie – Your mom sounds awesome. And really, I think I’m not a big fan of abstinence-only sex ed. I don’t mind when people promote it, but my kids will be getting info on all the nitty-gritty. And I really hope they feel they can come talk to me. Honestly. I think that’s the best way. When teens are sneaking and hiding, that’s when problems occur.

  8. I agree that sex ed classes could really use an update. I mean, whatever happened to talking about mastubation with kids? Aside from the fact that we are all sexual beings who have a natural desire for pleasure, many teens have sex out of curiosity. Everyone else is doing it so they feel they need to, or they want to know more about sex and feel that they can learn more by gaining “experience”. Or, they have just reached the time where hormones take over. So then, why not start the conversation, in a productive way, about how to obtain pleasure without a partner? Knowing your own body brings a lot of benefits and could possibly encourage teens to hold off on including another person in their sexual pleasure.