http://talking2teens.utahcounty.gov -- new abstinence web resource
PROVO, UTAH (June 18, 2013) - - Do you find yourself struggling when it comes to having "the Talk" with your teenager? A new abstinence education web site -- http://talking2teens.utahcounty.gov -- was recently launched by the Utah County Health Department to help parents have open conversations with their teens about abstaining from sexual activity outside of marriage.
"Studies show that parents have the greatest influence on their child's sexual behavior -- more than their friends or the media -- but they often avoid talking to their children about sex because it's uncomfortable or they feel unprepared," said Sofia Ybarra, Utah County Health Department health educator. "Too often this can lead to teen sex, which can be harmful to children, families, and communities. This site gives parents the resources and skills to help them feel confident when talking to their child about abstinence from sexual activity outside of marriage."
From 2006 to 2011, 1,269 teenage girls between 14 to 18 gave birth in Utah County, 75 percent of which were not married at the time they gave birth. Many of these mothers reported a desire to have received greater education about sex than what was presented to them in school. *
"We chose to create this site because parent-child communication is a predicting factor of sexual activity in teens," said Ybarra. "Parents in Utah County have also expressed a desire for information on how to teach their children about sex and the internet has proven an effective in promoting parent-child communication about sex."
The web site, offered in English and Spanish, is meant to serve as a guideline to help parents. The site is self-paced, allowing parents to use its ideas as children ask questions to bridge to other areas of concern. "The web site is specifically targeted to parents of teens," said Ybarra. "However, parents of younger kids can also find information they might find useful, such as when to begin the conversation and talking tips."
The site is based on information from the US Health and Human Services program "Parents Speak Up," the "Choosing the Best" abstinence education program and "The Big Talk Book" by Bruce Cook. "We needed a way to reach a large, diverse audience and the internet has proven to be an efficient, effective way to accomplish this goal," said Ybarra. "Rates of internet use in Utah County show that a web-based program will be a successful method of reaching the majority of residents."
Additional resources are also available from the web site, including printed material as well as other links and phone numbers. "We also offer workshops in English and Spanish," said Ybarra.
For more information, please see http://talking2teens.utahcounty.gov, call 801-851-7095, or email email@example.com. The Utah County Health Department is committed to promoting the health of our community by preventing avoidable disease and injury by monitoring the health of our community to assure conditions in which people can be healthy. For information on UCHD programs or services, please visit www.UtahCountyHealth.org or call 801-851-7000. You can also now follow the UCHD on any of our social media channels by going to www.UtahCountyHealth.org/SocialMedia.
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* Information and statistics from: High Risk Report of Births for Teenage Mothers, ages 18 years and younger, Utah County, 2006-2010; Utah County Teen Pregnancy Council, Teen mothers informal focus group assessment, 2009.