Unexpected: Chicago’s Anti-Teen Pregnancy Campaign

S Hasan

Chicago is targeting young males through a controversial ad campaign in an effort to raise awareness against teen pregnancy. The ads show pregnant teenage boys, with provocative tag-lines such as ‘unexpected? most teen pregnancies are’, to get people thinking and spark some serious dialogue. While Chicago’s teen birth rate has decreased 33% from 1999 to 2009, it still remains 1.5 times higher than the national average. Interestingly, similar ad campaigns run previously in Milwaukee and New York City have shown significant decreases in teen pregnancy.

The ads direct viewers to visit Be You Be Healthy, an initiative of the Chicago Department of Public Health’ Office of Adolescent and School Health (OASH), to raise awareness about adolescent health issues and provide easy-to-read resources. I find the layout of the website surprisingly much more appealing than the typical grant-funded/government-sponsored online repository, and the content too seems informative. It is not bogged down with extraneous details and seems relative to the comprehension level of the 21st century learner.

There are of course some concerns about the sensitivity of the ads towards transgendered individuals, which ads to the controversy and forces one to dig deeper. The purpose of the campaign is to relay the message that teen pregnancies effect the entire community, and I think this concern ads a layer to the conversation that perhaps was not considered before.

I encourage you to visit the website, and think about how you and I can contribute to the conversation.

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