As if we needed any more indications that the sexuality education we teach in schools might not be working, the latest place for teens to find answers to their questions is via cell phone.
In spite of web sites that allow teens to ask anonymous questions like We're Talking Teen Health and Go Ask Alice!, teens are still looking for answers to immediate sexuality-related questions, and texting them is the newest way to get answers.
In California, teens can text their sexuality questions to ISIS by texting the word 'hookup' to the phone number 365247 which will allow them to sign up for weekly health tips. Each tip contains a prompt to text the word 'clinic' plus a zip code to get contact information for two local clinics.
In North Carolina, they can text questions to The Birds and Bees Text Line. Both services provide non-judgmental and medically accurate information within 24 hours to teens with questions.
Neither site provides medical advice, only information from an adult and encouragement to seek medical care. The important part is that these services are another place teens can reach out to adults for information and support.
I worry a little bit about what happens when teens admit they were raped, or are being sexually abused - what do the adults receiving this information do - and are they responsible for reporting what they learn to the authorities, but I guess that is a abridge we cross when we come to it.
For now, I am happy there are more adults willing to provide the information teens need to make good decisions, get medical care, and protect themselves. As always, parents would be the best source of sexuality information, but they might need their own texting site for their questions!