By Taylor Farrell’15 and Timmy Dhakaia’15
Cell phones are what many call “their baby”, but DoSomething.org launched a teen pregnancy campaign, which literally turned a teen’s phone into a baby for the day. The Pregnancy Text Campaign gave texts from a virtual baby whose needs were directed to disrupt the daily activities of teens.
Running March 25 to June 12, participants endure 12 hours of texts from a baby, which is intended to show how much attention is required to accommodate a baby. One can sign up by going to DoSomething.org/baby, where one is able to put in their cell phone number, as well as friends’ numbers, to receive texts from their personal virtual baby.
“The constant texts made me think about how I would have dealt with a baby in real life,” said Ishmath Cellion’15. “ I wouldn’t have thought about it without the campaign.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 30 out of every 1,000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant. This campaign was established to make teens become aware of the responsibilities of having to deal with a baby.
“The baby kept texting me during classes so it was distracting, but I had to answer because it’s my baby,” said Olga Berchanskiy ’15. “I think it would be really hard to be in school and be a mom at the same time.”
As stated by DoSomething.org, parenthood is the leading reason that teen girls drop out of school. More than half of teen mothers never graduate from high school and less than 2 percent of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30.
“Most teenagers don’t realize how hard it is to be a parent and it often leads to them dropping out of school,” said Ms. Jessica Maloney, physical education and health teacher. “In addition to our safe sex curriculum, I feel we need to also teach about all the responsibilities that go along with raising a child. Students don’t realize the cost of diapers, food, clothes, doctor visits, daycare, and rent. New parents have to be prepared for feedings every 2-3 hours, sleepless nights, and cleaning up vomit and diarrhea. Of course we as teachers have to remind them they will also have to find time to study and do their homework.”
Although this campaign was considered effective to some, others thought it wasn’t as realistic as having a real baby around all day.
Leutrim Kelmendi ’15 felt the texting campaign was not as realistic as an actual baby, but still showed that caring for a baby requires a lot of effort and the baby still needs a lot of attention and love.
“The whole experience of having this virtual texting baby for 12 hours taught me that having a baby takes a lot of responsibility, especially if you have school and other daily tasks to complete,” said Nicole Lasica ’14. “If you are planning to have a child you have to make sure that you do not have major tasks in your daily routine because the baby needs all your time and attention and will not give you a break.”