WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE REALITY OF TEENS HAVING SEX TODAY?
The percentage of births to unmarried girls under age 20 has risen dramatically, reaching 83 percent in 2005. This is significant because births outside of marriage generally have more negative consequences for both mothers and their children. Roughly half (47 percent ) of all high school students in the U.S. report having sex at least once, and close to two-thirds (63 percent ) report having sex by the spring semester of their senior year of high school. This behavior puts them at risk of both pregnancy and infection with an STD. You may not know it but having an STD can increase the likelihood of contracting HIV.
What we’ve seen in our communities is that teenage mothers are less likely to complete school, less likely to go to college, more likely to have repeat pregnancies, and are more likely to be single—increasing the likelihood that they and their children will live in poverty. Negative consequences are particularly severe for younger mothers and their children.
When teens become pregnant or contract an STD, they, their children, and society at large often pay a huge price that is economic, often causing long-term emotional suffering and stress. Children of teenage mothers are likely to have less supportive and stimulating home environments, lower cognitive development, less education, more behavior problems, and higher rates of both incarceration (for boys) and adolescent childbearing.
The following are just a few of the statistics that describe teen sexual activity. This is a clear indication of why it is imperative for our community at large to get involved in improving the efforts to prevent sexual risk-taking among teens:
Roughly 50% of all African-American girls in the United States will get pregnant at least once before age 20
Significant increases of HIV infections among 13 to 19 year old males have been noted, among those 85% are black.
The sons of teen mothers are 13% more likely to end up in prison while their daughters are 22% more likely to become teen mothers themselves.
What Can Be Done?
There are no easy answers in helping young people make decisions that will contribute to their well-being and that of their futures. However studies have shown that parents have a greater influence on their children’s behavior than they may think.
Studies show that teens say almost half of the time, that parents (46%) are the greatest influence of their decisions about sex. While only 20% say their friends have the greatest influence on their decisions about sex.
It is also reported that eight in ten teenagers (80%) report that it would be easier to delay sex if they were able to have more open, honest conversations about these topics with their parents.
Six in ten teens (62%) actually wish they were able to talk more openly about relationships with their parents.
Through our informational sessions, programs and conferences, Motivity is providing opportunities for parents to have more of those open and candid conversations with their children
- About sex and the values of their family
- About relationships and how to tell the difference between those that are healthy vs. toxic
- About the expectations a parent has for their children and their futures