By Anna J. Wiersema (Age 17)
The moral decay in America manifests itself in many ways, including the increasing rates of teenage promiscuity. U.S. teens begin having sex younger than teens in Germany, France, and the Netherlands. American adolescents also demonstrate higher rates of birth and abortion (1). Of the industrialized nations, the United States possesses the largest teen birthrate, which doubles the United Kingdom's and is approximately l5 times greater than Japan's (2).
Neither left-wing nor right-wing groups deny the prevalence of teenage promiscuity and pregnancy in the United States.
Sexual education in schools should objectively assess all aspects of the issue, including abstinence and contraception. However, rather than just confronting students with their choices (including abstinence and contraception), teachers should also address the varying consequences of these choices in a professional and unbiased manner. Students should learn, for example, not only how to use various methods of contraception, but also their effectiveness and how they prevent birth. Effective education ought to clearly address all aspects of the issue and present them as they are in hope that adolescents will be able to make more informed choices regarding their sexuality.
Authorities as well as people developing these curricula must understand that teenagers tend to mold what they hear into their preconceived notions of sexual activity, so broad education will not be able to change their minds and teach then healthy behavior. Furthermore, when listening to a biased message they do not completely support, teenagers find it easy to dismiss all issues addressed in the message rather than thinking about them and assessing their own views.
Besides incomplete policies on sexual education, the government's other grant policies addressing teenage promiscuity tend to be counter-productive. When the state facilitates abortion for minors, teens see it as a federal approval for promiscuity. Therefore, it must be understood that government aide often exacerbates the problems it seeks to solve.
If the nation seeks to combat teenage pregnancy, teenage promiscuity must be addressed. If teenage promiscuity is reduced, the hearts and minds of teenagers must be changed.
Therefore, families must take ultimate responsibility for their communities. Parents, who exert the greatest influence in their children's life, must strive to exemplify virtues and provide their families with a solid moral base. They must also demonstrate how to make decisions based on such a foundation. Then, when their kids become teenagers they will know how to discern and make responsible choices. Strong families are essential in preventing promiscuity.
However, in modern times the family has been eroded. When parents do not fulfill their roles, children often become raised by their friends and by the media.
In the same way, the church can bolster the work of parents as well as taking responsibility for fractured families. By influencing kids and teens to make healthy decisions, the church can halt the tendency of teenage promiscuity.
Ideally the church and the family should work together to teach and guide the children to make the best decisions. This involves active participation and perseverance on the part of both these institutions. Although apathy provides an easier course, it only facilitates the escalation of social and moral decay. Such dilemmas, including teenage promiscuity, will only intensify until the church and the family choose to take responsibility for their youth and actively rebuild their broken communities.
1. National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League. "Abstinence-Only Sex Education Cannot Reduce Teenage Pregnancy." Opposing Viewpoints : Teenage Pregnancy. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. ALLEN HIGH SCHOOL - REGION 10. 8 Dec. 2007. <http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tablD=T010&prodld:OVRC &docId=EJ3010165250&source:gale&srcprod:OVRC&userGroupName=tlc I0901353g&version:1.0>.
2. Garth, Lakita. "Abstinence-Only Sex Education Can Reduce Teenage Pregnancy." Opposing Viewpoints: Teenage Pregnancy. Ed. Auriana Ojeda. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2003. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Thomson Gale. ALLEN HIGH SCHOOL - REGION 10. 8 Dec. 2007 <htfp://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tablD=T0 10&prodld=OVRC&docld:EJ30l0165249&source=gale&srcprod:OVRC&userGroupName =t1c109013539&version: 1.0>.