Teen Sex and Technology- -No one would argue against the idea that the evolution of technology has drastically changed our lives, and in many ways, for the better. I doubt that an argument could be made against the old saying that “sex sells”. It is the confluence of these two that’s made me an astute observer of our cultural changes and the effects on teens and families. As a women’s health clinician (Physician Assistant), health educator and sex counselor, I am well aware of the statistics on sexual activity, teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, and a host of other consequences of adolescent behavior. Years ago as the mother of a teen, I wondered about the impact of technology – how is it changing the way teens think, act, learn, communicate? It seems to me that the constant “connectivity”, multi-tasking and instant gratification must be having an effect.
Sexual messages bombard us – utilized by the media, blatant on social network sites where the concept of privacy has been demolished, the focus of teen TV shows, ever present in the general tenor of popular culture. Porn is accessible and very popular and”sexting” abounds. And at the same time, kids are warned about the dangers of sex and told not to engage in sexual behavior until they are married. Confusing and mixed messages that are accompanied by misinformation, social pressure, raging hormones and an undeveloped ability to understand consequences.
We as parents and community members cannot control what others want to tell our kids. But we can counter that with accurate and supportive information and discussions. How else will they learn about healthy relationships and the role sex plays within them? We know from multiple studies that teens who have an adult they feel comfortable talking to about sex will delay its initiation and that that delay can drastically reduce many of the associated risks. I ask you to realize and share the sexual values of your family. Speak honestly and openly. Use those very important “teachable moments” that arise – turn the media messages into lessons. Remember that in regards to “having the talk”, it is never too early, but unfortunately, could be too late.
Jade Singer is a licensed Physician Assistant who has been practicing gynecology for over 25 years. She holds a master’s in public health with a speciality in health education and is certified as a sex counselor. Jade is a national speaker, educating both health professionals and the public about current trends in adolescent sexuality.
Jade Singer and Marni Parsons will be “having the talk” about teenage sexuality at the Culver City Julian Dixon Library the Thursday May 12 at 6 p.m. If you are the parent of sexy teenagers, perhaps it’s time for you to learn so you can teach.