Proponents of intervention in an attempt to change human behaviour would be well advised to consider the results of a programme in Western Australia designed to cut the number of teenage pregnancies. More than 1,000 girls in over 50 schools across Western Australia joined the Virtual Parenting Programme. The girls were taught about sexual health, contraception and the financial costs of having a baby. They were also given a virtual baby simulator doll to look after. A doll which cried when it needed feeding or changing. The girls also watched videos of other teenage girls explaining their experiences of being teenage mums.
Sensibly, those running the programme monitored the progress of the girls in order to assess how successful all this education had been. They found that by age 20 8% of those on the programme had given birth at least once and 9% having had an abortion.
Results which may seem to suggest the programme was a success until, that is, the results are compared to those girls who did not take part in the programme. Of those only 4% had given birth and 6% having an abortion.