Teen Pregnancy Prevention Group Reaches Young People And Their Parents Through An App
The North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens has partnered with the app OkaySo to answer questions about sex from teens and parents.
Experts say talking to teens and their parents about sex is usually better if done in person, but just like other aspects of life right now, face-to-face instruction isn’t such a good idea.
That isn’t stopping the North Texas Alliance to Reduce Unintended Pregnancy in Teens (Ntarupt) from educating teens and adults on the topic. The nonprofit has been offering virtual classes during the pandemic and now is offering advice via an app. The app, called OkaySo connects teens and parents to health experts, who can answer questions about sex, relationships, identity and mental health.
“What we love is that we’re able to answer these questions from a local perspective,” said Veronica Ray-Whitehead, Ntarupt’s director of programs. “So if a young person or a parent wants to know how to find classes on how to talk to their kid, we can tell them locally where that’s at. Or if someone is looking for access to reproductive health care, but they need it to be affordable, we can tell them locally where it’s at.”
Texas’ teen birth rate has been on the decline for the past 12 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control. But it still has the nation’s ninth highest birth rate — and ranks second in the country for the highest rate of repeat teen births.
Ray-Whitehead said she’s noticed some people are more comfortable asking follow-up questions on the app than in person.
“I think there is this sense of maybe anonymity or confidentiality rather that young people feel they can truly ask their questions and have them answered and not have to worry about judgement or shame or fear,” she said.
The sex health experts who respond to questions submitted on the app work for Ntarupt. Ray-Whitehead said one of them is bilingual, so app users can ask questions in Spanish if they prefer.
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