Actually, make that nine apps. Planned Parenthood knows better than anyone that most teenagers in this country don’t get the sex ed they need. Some schools continue to preach abstinence-only education, despite the fact that research has shown this leads to less safe sex, when the sex finally occurs (and in most cases it doesn’t eventually occur), and others offer a kind of lackluster, outdated program that’s easy for teens to tune out because it seems so irrelevant to their own lives (flour and egg babies are cute and all, but…).
Figuring that teens like (a) mobile apps and (b) learning about sex on their own, with no one present to giggle at how little (or how much) they know, Planned Parenthood designed nine apps for a range of ages: “Awkward or Not?” encourages teens to talk to their parents about dating and sex, complete with a pre-written prompt at the end of the quiz to send directly to their parents… which promises to be both truly mortifying and ultimately incredibly helpful, possibly even life-saving.
Various other apps let teens discover their “love personality”; give them tools to avoid peer pressure and postpone sex until they’re ready; help them set life goals, both short-term and long-term (everything from sex to career); and, finally, give them the tools to approach sex safely, when they’re ready for it. Because, yes, contrary to what the abstinence-only movement would like you to believe, even Planned Parenthood wants teens to wait to have sex. And it gives them real reasons to wait: Because sex feels better, both physically and emotionally, when you’re ready. Because an unwanted pregnancy could impact your short-term and long-term life goals. Because safer sex requires a cooperative, educated partner that you trust.
Sure, we know that teens are bound to roll their eyes at some of this stuff, but that’s what teens do — especially when the subject is sex. But where a parent may give up — out of embarrassment or frustration or ignorance — the app just keeps on going, and nobody but the teen needs to know that he or she is actually paying attention.
Got a teen in your life? You can check out all nine apps here.