Robotic “infant simulators” marketed to schools as a way to help prevent teen pregnancy may have the opposite effect, according toin the British health journal The Lancet.
Australian researchers randomly assigned nearly 3,000 teenage girls to one of two groups: Some received an automated doll (programmed to cry, sleep, eat, and spoil its diapers on a realistic schedule, and equipped with sensors to track whether students are properly caring for it), while others received just standard health education. Then the researchers tracked the girls until they turned 20, using records from hospitals and abortion clinics.
Their findings: 8 percent of the girls who received an infant simulator ended up giving birth, compared to just 4 percent of those who received standard health education. And 9 percent of the girls who received an infant simulator had an abortion, compared to 6 percent who received standard health education.
A version of this article appeared in the January 18, 2017 edition of Education Week as Sex Education