LAS VEGAS - Nearly 40 percent of teens aged 14 to 17 are using digital technologies to seek out health related information1, including information on sexual health. In response, a growing number of sexual health organizations are creating online and Smartphone-based tools aimed at providing reliable information and helping teens and young people prevent unintended pregnancy.
“Young people themselves can take a more proactive role in delaying pregnancy until they are ready to become parents, and there are a number of online tools that can help,” said Laura Deitsch, program manager for Planned Parenthood of Southern Nevada’s Responsible Sex Education Institute. “Today’s technology makes it possible for young people looking for information to access it in multiple ways, and Planned Parenthood is determined to provide information to as many young people as possible. We need to make sure that all young people have the information and access to services that are proven to reduce teen pregnancy rates.”
Most recently, Planned Parenthood Federation of America launched PlannedParenthood.tumblr.com on the fast-growing micro-blogging social network favored by young audiences.
Designed to be a go-to source for accurate information about contraception, pregnancy prevention, and staying healthy in general, Planned Parenthood’s new Tumblr presence puts helpful, current, and engaging information in front of its followers on a daily basis and allows them to share it easily with their own online circles. The blog also makes use of Tumblr’s built-in anonymous “Ask” feature, so users can submit questions to be potentially featured on the blog. This new Tumblr account is just one tool in Planned Parenthood’s ongoing effort to reach young people where they are online in order to provide vital and accurate information. In its first few days online, the new Tumblr gained over 15,000 followers, making it one of Planned Parenthood’s fastest growing social media presences ever.
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy has also produced an online tool to help women avoid unplanned pregnancy: the organization’s Bedsider tool is an online birth control support network for women 18-29, with the goal of helping women find the method of birth control that’s right for them and learn how to use it consistently and effectively.
Other Planned Parenthood online resources include
- My Method, which allows online visitors to determine a suggested method of contraception by answering a few simple questions
- a chat/text program that allows young people to contact Planned Parenthood with questions about pregnancy or STDs using the text function on their mobile phone or instant messaging on their computer or tablet
- @HeyPP and @PPFAQ on Twitter
- Planned Parenthood Health and Planned Parenthood Info for Teens on Facebook
- Q&A with Dr. Cullins
- Ask the Experts
Teen Birth Rates in the U.S.
The United States has achieved sharp declines in pregnancy and childbearing over the past two decades. From 2009 to 2010, the U.S. teen birth rate declined nine percent to a historic low; fewer babies were born to teenagers in 2010 than in any year since the mid-1940s. However, the U.S. rate still far exceeds those of other developed countries.
“It’s wonderful to see the progress we’ve made in reducing teen pregnancy, and yet there is still work to be done,” said Deitsch. “Fortunately, we know that when teens have access to sex education, accurate information, and reliable contraceptives, they are much less likely to get pregnant.
“Another piece of good news is that both contraceptive use at first sex and dual contraceptive use are growing among sexually active teens. Through our online and mobile tools, Planned Parenthood is working to reach as many young people as possible with information about contraception and the importance of protecting themselves against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.”
As the nation’s leading and most trusted provider of reproductive health care and sex education, Planned Parenthood works year-round to help teens prevent unintended pregnancy. Every year, Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive sex education to more than 1.1 million people and plannedparenthood.org receives 33 million visits — most of them from people seeking health information. Our nearly 800 health centers are a leading source of affordable birth control for women and men of all ages.
The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is organized by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and is observed each year in May.
1 Pew Internet & American Life Project (http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2010/Social-Media-and-Young-Adults/Part-4/1-Online-health-information.aspx?r=1)
Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains empowers individuals and families in the communities we serve to make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive health by providing high quality health services, comprehensive sex education, and strategic advocacy. More than 123,000 women, men, and young adults annually visit our 28 health centers throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Southern Nevada, and Wyoming. Since 1916, we have been the region’s most trusted provider of reproductive health care. For more information about Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, call 1.800.230.PLAN or visit pprm.org for the health center nearest you.