Youth, Mobile, and Health at Sex::Tech 2011

Published: April 12, 2011

Earlier this month, I attended Sex::Tech 2011  in San Francisco, the fourth annual conference on technology, youth, and sexual health. At the conference, I heard from a range of experts – sexual health educators, researchers, technology developers, parents, and of course, youth and young adults. During her welcome presentation  on Day 1, Sex::Tech founder Deb Levine emphasized that when it comes to reaching young people with sexual health information, there are four key points to consider:

•Optimize search – young people need the right answers to be accessible
•Think push, don’t pull – deliver messages where youth already are and when they want it
•Talk to, not at, youth – they’re smart – deliver and engage in meaningful (and even humorous) conversations
•Keep your head in the (computer) cloud – we have to be ubiquitous and "transform sex-ed from boring to brand"

These points echo what we heard from others presenters at Sex::Tech and what AIDS service providers have told us before – that youth want to access health information quickly and easily, especially when it comes to HIV. This could be anything from learning what HIV is, to answering a question about how it’s transmitted, to finding an HIV testing site nearby. And youth can (and do!) do this with cell phones. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project , 75% of teens have a mobile phone , 54% of teens send texts every day , and even 84% of teens sleep with their phones on or next to their bed . If we start to think about youth as consumers who are seeking out the product they want, we have to reach the medium where they are, and this is increasingly becoming mobile.

Full text of article available at link below –

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