Teen pregnancy rates have dipped to their lowest since records began.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that in 2014, out of every 1000 teenage girls aged 15 to 17 in England and Wales there were just 22.9 pregnancies. That’s compared 47.1 when records began. But perhaps most notable is the 45% drop since 2007.
Rates for young women wanting abortions has also risen in the past two decades.
So what could these promising figures be down to? Better sex education being taught in schools and general awareness? Professor David Patton, an economist at Nottingham University thinks not. In fact he believes that the cuts to sexual health services during a period of austerity would have had the opposite impact.
He believes that its actually all down to social media.
Yup, apparently teens are more interested than scrolling through Twitter and Facebook, and making rainbows come out of their mouths on SnapChat, than hanging around bus stops and having sex like in the ‘good ol’ days.’
Noting that similar patterns have occurred in other countries such as New Zealand, the Prof told The Telegraph: ‘It does potentially fit in terms of timing.
‘People [appear to be] spending time at home – rather than sitting at bus stops with a bottle of vodka they are doing it remotely with their friends.’
Although he added: ‘Nobody really knows why we’ve got this sudden change around 2007 to 2008,’ acknowledging that major improvements in schools in areas such as London around the same time did occur.
However, Claire Murphy from the British Pregnancy Advice Service also feels that the social media explanation carries some weight. ‘The plummeting level of teenage drinking, for example, may be reducing the likelihood of unprotected sex, and teenagers are also increasingly socialising online, limiting the opportunities for sexual activity.’
So teens are having less unprotected sex and getting drunk a lot less than they used to? Now that’s the best argument for people giving them a break that we’ve ever seen.