Pregnancy

Teen Sexting Takes On New Definition With Awesome Planned Parenthood Service

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teen girl cell phoneIf kids are lucky enough grow up in a state that does not have abstinence-only education, misinformation is still a possibility. More specific questions about sexual encounters and safe sex for queer students still often get swept under the rug of federal guidelines. A quarter of young girls may think that getting the HPV vaccine decreases their risks for contracting all STDS, but with a simple text message they could learn otherwise thanks to Planned Parenthood.

The organization has rolled out ICYC – In Case You’re Curious – a confidential texting service that allows kids to text their sex questions to Planned Parenthood. While ICYC makes no claims to being a doctor, and encourages teens to take personal medical questions to a physician, the service does answer questions about safe sex practices. Planned Parenthood guarantees that they’ll answer ICYC texts within 24 hours and with standard text messaging rates.

The New York Times recently featured the ICYC experience of Stephanie Cisneros, a high school junior, who got into a quarrel with her friend about the possibility of contracting STDS through kissing. A simple text to ICYC settled that dispute right away while also advocating condom use for all sexual encounters.  The young lady told the Times that she is more comfortable texting with Planned Parenthood than asking her parents because there is no “judgement” coupled with those anonymous messages.  The ICYC model is also extremely cost-effective in our era of shrinking education budgets to get accurate information to kids, especially given that not everyone wants them to even be informed. [tagbox tag=”sex education”]

A sophomore at DePaul University recounts his sex ed experience as ninth grader as far from informative:

“The teacher had been a nutrition major,” [Juan] Chavez said. “He was really uncomfortable. He just said, ‘I don’t believe you guys should be having sex, so I’ll just say this because I have to.’ ”

Other experts point out that since kids aren’t getting their questions answered in the classroom, Google is coming way before Mom and Dad which isn’t all that reliable either. Given that a xoJane health director recently shared her own complete disregard for condoms, these Google searches can sometimes leave kids even more misinformed:

“When we ask young people what is the No. 1 way they learn about sex, they say, ‘We Google it,’ ” said Deb Levine, executive director of ISIS Inc., an Oakland, Calif.,-based nonprofit organization that administers texting services and checks content for medical accuracy. “But most of the time, the best information is not coming up in those searches.”

Given the alternatives, you may want to upgrade your kid’s phone plan to accommodate some safe sex texting.

(photo: Shutterstock)