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Sex Information - Who Are Teens Listening To?--Editorial

By HERWriter
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Recently, the Guttmacher Institute published an article that all EmpowHER readers, writers and supporters may find interesting. The article analyzed the results of Ann E. Biddlecom’s study on whether American teenagers seek sexual health information from the Internet. Apparently, despite the fact that Internet usage among adolescents is almost universal and the number of hours/day teenagers report spending on a computer increases annually, when it comes to finding information on sexual health, young people look elsewhere.

As someone who writes about sexual health for an online community, often with a young adult target group in mind, I’m not quite sure what to make of this news.

While Biddlecom’s study is relatively small, using information gathered from only 58 interviews with individual high school students in New York and Indiana, its results are still quite telling. Students informed their interviewers that they were more comfortable receiving information about sex and reproductive health from “education sources such as school, family members, and friends,” rather than the Internet. These otherwise web-savvy teens show unusual foresight in their skepticism toward online sources, saying that it is hard to tell which sites have medically accurate or current information. In an age where many adults rely on websites like Web MD or Ask.com to diagnose their ailments or provide holistic, homeopathic cures, I was surprised to learn that the younger generation prefers a more traditional source of health facts. This is especially surprising because they tend to trust the Internet in so many other contexts: as a news source, as a forum for social interaction, to gather facts for homework assignments, to sample a variety of entertainment styles, etc.

So, what can people who are interested in providing accurate sexual health information to as many young people as possible take away from this study?

Biddlecom’s conclusion – which I whole-heartedly agree with – is that now more than ever, we must fight for science-based, age-appropriate sex education curriculum in schools.

Add a Comment2 Comments

Why not present the scientific facts ALONG with moral education? Increased sexual activity in teenagers leads to: teen pregnancy, depression, STDs, sexual addiction, sexual identity confusion.

Birth control is NOT safe sex. It is available for LOWERING THE RISK of STDS and pregnancy but does not prevent either of these things completely. Monogamy and masterbation are the safest forms of sex there is. You can control sexual urges with being involved in non-sexual stimulating activities and mental conditioning. You do not have to feed your sexual appetite to supress it, actually feeding your sexual appetite makes it worse.

What is sex education doing instead? Telling kids to experiment sexually, encouraging sexual exploration and telling them that using a condom equals sexual freedom! LIES LIES LIES! Watch "THE RULES HAVE CHANGED" on You Tube. There is all the scientific information you need.

February 10, 2011 - 4:11pm
EmpowHER Guest

Interesting post, though how would you or anyone else accomplish your goal?

First off, you have many roadblocks:
- Many state legislatures that are now in the mindset of the failed abstinence-only education
- Every school district or school board will want to teach a different sex-ed curricula
- Various religious groups that do not want their children to be subjected to such immoral indoctrination (sarcasm)
- Private schools and parents who home school their children wouldn’t have to do it
- You’d have to provide an opportunity for parents to remove their children from such indoctrination because of various legal and, because sexual activity is linked to religious belief in some cases, constitutional issues.

Secondly, if you were to get past all of those roadblocks or even most of them, some of their information is bound to be inaccurate, biased, or just lies. This could be fixed, or drastically improved, with a national sex-ed curriculum. But that isn’t possible right now because it would violate the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which prohibits establishing a national curriculum. So you’d be stuck trying to convince each state to adopt the same curriculum voluntarily.

It seems the only way to accomplish your goal, or to start moving in the right direction, is to convince enough people that voluntary sexual activity has nothing to do with morality. Best of luck!

February 8, 2011 - 2:14am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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