Same news, different story

A recent presentation at the American Public Health Association Conference reported the differences in sexual behavior between youth that have smart phones versus less sophisticated ones. in a nutshell, of the teens (from LA) surveyed, those with smartphones were more likely to have sex, have sex without a condom, meet others online for sex, and be sexually solicited than teens without Internet access on their phones,

Although most press coverage consisted of the same content, the headlines varied greatly. The US News and World Report simply stated Smartphones linked to sexual activity in teens: Dull, but to the point and accurate. Kudos as well to the New York Daily News (yes, you read that right — they did good here) for having a slightly more sensational headline, but still getting the facts right:

Teens with Smartphones are more likely to be solicited for sex via the internet

Less responsible headlines included

Lead researcher Eric Rice of USC School of Social Work did a great job of representing his work accurately and was lucky enough to be quoted well in the articles at least. I continue to hope for a day when teen sexuality is NOT used to grab attention by being portrayed in a scandalous, irresponsible manner. If we want them to be mature about their sexual decision making, the least us adults could do is set a good example for them.

Update on Me

The fabulous sexuality educator Karen Rayne interviewed me for a piece about YouTube and what parents need to know. I am linking to it here, but promise that I will be updating my own blog in the near future!

Meanwhile, I have been doing a lot in the world of teens and sexuality! I recently spoke at a Teen Night hosted by OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) — the topic was, of course, about teens online! We had a great group of young people and we mostly chatted about the best ways to educate their peers about the potential dangers of online. We talked quite a bit about child pornography laws and most of what I said was news to them! They told me it was very important that people their age learn about the laws related to sending naked pictures of themselves, because even though it might be a “dumb idea” it still happens.

I am also in the throes of planning the wonderful Adolescent Sexuality Conference in Seaside, OR! There will be some presentations that address technology, and others that speak more broadly to teen sexuality. Save the dates — April 6-7, 2009.

Seeking Your Support for My Presentation!

Hello Beloved Readers!

I’m writing to ask you to please support my efforts to get the SXSW Interactive Festival to accept my proposal for a panel I would like to participate on during the March 13-17, 2009 conference.

The SXSW Interactive Festival ( is an industry conference held in Austin for web developers and digital creatives, now in its 15th year. These days the conference has become so popular that it gets hundreds of proposals like mine, from people who would like to present at the conference. To help them sort out what people what to hear, the conference organizers now use a web-based panel picker. I’m writing to ask you to please visit and use the panel picker and to place a vote on it for my proposal and leave a comment.

==> Please go to and, in the search box, enter “Sex Ed” in order to quickly find the listing for my proposal, place your vote and leave a comment. Our exciting proposal is called Sex Ed Online: How Teens Self Savvy. The panel picker will be active until August 29. Please act now! It will take you less than 3 minutes and costs nothing, but you must open an account on the panel picker to post a comment.

I would be so psyched to be on this panel. Other members include the esteemed Heather Corinna from Scarlet Teen and Nikol Hasler from the Midwest Teen Sex Show. How cool is that?

We’ll be addressing the following questions:
1. What do teens want to know about sex?
2. How do they use the Internet to find answers?
3. Which social media tools provide the best sexual education?
4. What positive or negative impact can the Web have on teen sexuality?
5. At what ages should online use by children and teens be monitored?
6. Are parents abdicating their roles as sex educators to the Internet?
7. Does online info encourage or discourage sexual experimentation by teens?
8. What role does the Internet play in educating youth about sex?
9. Can the government regulate online sex education and should it?
10. Can online sex info be trusted for accuracy?

I will be most grateful for any support you can offer and hope that you will please use the Panel Picker and vote for my proposal. Thanks!

==> Please go to and, in the search box, enter “Sex Ed” in order to quickly find the listing for my proposal, place your vote and leave a comment. The panel picker will be active until August 29. Please act now!

When you sign up and vote, you are not signing onto any e-mail lists by giving your information, and you do not need to attend the conference nor must you have attended it in the past in order to vote for my panel. While votes to rate the proposal (1-5 stars) are valuable, I’m told that what really counts with the organizers it is having comments written about why someone would be a good speaker and/or why the topic is of interest. So please vote for my idea and comment!

Back from Sex::Tech!

Whew! What a great experience. I was exhausted at the end of both days, mostly because I think there was a lot to process. Most the conferences I go to are of the “academic nerd” type, and focus mostly on research. The sex::tech conference was mostly about what people are DOING. I liked that change of pace, but sometimes I struggled with it because I wanted to know if things actually WORKED.

Best overall resource goes to Sexuality and U, based out of Canada. Lots of interactive tools as well as information — I especially like the contraceptive choice tool, but it’s hard to pass up the Sex-Fu Challenge — who doesn’t want to become a Master in that domain? The representatives of Sexuality and U were very open about admitting to the lack of diversity on their site, especially in relation to sexual minority populations. But they are working on it! It was also cool to hear that Advocates for Youth will also be updating their site, adding more interactive features.

One of the big take-away messages for me was that we are all struggling to figure out the best ways to use technology to help youth live safer, happier and fulfilling lives. The emphasis on positivity as opposed to fear was refreshing. And the abundance of youth present at the sessions kept us honest and in-check. If, after all, we claim to want to help these folks, not including them in our discussions is a big mistake. A special thanks to all who attended and extra kudos to those who were brave enough to speak out.