Teens want sex health info
A recent survey shows that young people want to know more about sexual health.
Teens and youth are not as careless and irresponsible as we, the parents seem to think. On the contrary, they are desperate for good quality information about sexual health and wellbeing. That’s according to a study conducted on MXit by the 15andCounting campaign, in conjunction with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF).

Nearly a quarter of a million people responded to the survey, with 90% of youth saying they believed that governments should do more to improve access to information about reproductive health. Interestingly, this came from an international sample of MXit users across 17 countries, suggesting that it’s not only South Africa that is lagging behind in this area.

According to the Parent24 survey earlier this year, 75% of teens have unsupervised access to cellphones. What better opportunity for them to find and access information they may feel shy or inhibited to access in view of their parents.

MXit is only one way that teens can be reached via their phones in order to make their voices heard and to offer access to much-needed reproductive health info.

A recent initiative by loveLife goes some way to utilise the amazing cellphone access of young people. The Callback programme allows teens to send a Please Call Me to loveLife, triggered an automated system which then ensures that a counsellor contacts the teen.

The organisation hopes this will help teens overcome problems such as lack of airtime or limited or no landline use, which may hamper their access to useful, pertinent information about HIV/Aids and other sexual health issues.

Users from all three cellphone service providers can send their Please Call Me to the number 083 323 1023.

Going to teens where they are is crucial if they are going to get access to the information they so clearly want. According to MXit’s international marketing manager, the social network has more than 16,5 million users, mostly between the ages of 17 and 25.

How should teens be given access to information about sexual health? Is it the government’s job?

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