ICYC reaches youth where they already are, through texting
DENVER – Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is proud to launch a new text messaging program aimed at teens and youth in the Denver Metro area called, “In Case You’re Curious,” or ICYC.
The program is simple; just text “ICYC” to 66746. Then text questions whenever you have them. A highly-trained Planned Parenthood Community Education staff member will answer each question within 24-hours. Standard text messaging rates apply.
“The program offers teens and youth in the Denver Metro area a new resource for asking sexual health questions and more importantly, getting medically accurate, age-appropriate answers to those questions,” said Alison Macklin, director of community education for PPRM.
ICYC reaches teens where they already are. Of the 75 percent of teens who owned cell phones in 2010, 87 percent used text messaging at least occasionally. Among those teen texters1:
- Half of teens send 50 or more text messages a day, or 1,500 texts a month, and one in three send more than 100 texts a day, or more than 3,000 texts a month.
- Older girls who text are the most active, with 14-17 year-old girls typically sending 100 or more messages a day or more than 3,000 texts a month.
From 2007-2009, there were on average 3,240 births among teens ages 15-19 in the seven county Metro Denver area each year. Forty percent of Colorado high school students report having had sex in their lifetime. On average, 17 babies are born to teens in Colorado every day—or about one baby born every 84 minutes2. Teens deserve honest, medically accurate, age-appropriate answers about sexual health.
“ICYC is a cool program because sometimes it’s easy to believe what your friends or people on TV say about sex, but you don’t always know what is true and what is just a myth. With ICYC, you get answers that you know are true,” said Stephanie Cisneros, a Denver teen that uses ICYC.
The ICYC program, which was originally created in 2010 for the Denver Teen Pregnancy Prevention Partnership (DTP3), cannot diagnose conditions or give personal medical advice in a text message; its responses are never a substitute for seeing a doctor. Often, the program directs people to Planned Parenthood’s website for more information or encourages the user to contact a health care professional if their question is beyond the scope of ICYC.
“Planned Parenthood works hard to encourage parent-teen communication when it comes to talking about sex and sexual health. We also encourage teens to involve a parent or trusted adult in any health care decision. But we also know that some youth come from families where they may not have a trusted, safe source to turn to. ICYC can serve as that first source for medically accurate information,” said Macklin.
In addition to the texting program, PPRM has a section on its website designed especially for teens: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/info-for-teens/.
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.
1 Pew Research Center 2010, http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1572/teens-cell-phones-text-messages
2 The State of Adolescent Sexual Health in Colorado 2011, published by Colorado Youth Matter http://www.coloradoyouthmatter.org/images/stories/email/SASH2011FINAL.pdf
December 14, 2011