According to a new study, the teenage pregnancy prevention program involving a baby simulator does not appear to have the expected long-term effect.
Teen births in the US dropped 57 percent between 1991 and 2013.
Teenage pregnancy demands a high cost on teens and society as a whole. Although researchers can’t identify the precise reason of that development, many consider that reliable access to birth control and improved information have contributed.
Moreover, sex education would seem to play a role. The part of the sex ed where teens were given the expensive baby simulator which cries when it needs to be changed, fed or burped, is unquestionably not a factor. The dolls reflected the behavior of six-week-old infants.
Similar programs are practiced in schools in 89 countries, including the US.
The first randomized controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of this intervention proved that it did not reduce the risk of teenage pregnancy.
To evaluate the Virtual Infant Parenting (VIP) program, approximately 3000 Western Australian school girls aged 13-15 years from 57 public and independent schools took part in the trial between 2003 and 2006. The study monitored 1,267 girls who got a VIP and 1,567 who got the standard health education curriculum.
They were educated about sexual health, the financial costs of having a baby and contraception. The program also included viewing a video of teenage mothers expressing their experiences and caring for a lifelike model of a child over the weekend.
The results of this analysis show that this intervention is likely to be an inefficient use of public resources pointed at teenage pregnancy prevention.
As the results appeared, researchers were shocked to discover that the girls that joined the baby simulator program were twice as likely to give birth in their teens than the girls in the control group (8 percent to 4 percent).
The cost of a simulator baby varies. Those used in Australia cost approximately $913 each when the trial began in 2003. Now, a standard pack of 10 infant simulators along with the needed equipment costs $18,245.10.
According to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), Australia ranks sixth out of 21 countries ranked by teenage pregnancy rates.
Pregnant teens usually have more complicated pregnancies, and they fall out on careers, education, and ultimately, earnings.
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