, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 27-37
Date: 22 Feb 2011

The More Things Change…: The Relative Importance of the Internet as a Source of Contraceptive Information for Teens

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Abstract

Most teens have regular access to the internet, and there is some expectation that the internet is helping to fill the sexual health information gap. We conducted in-depth interviews with a racially and ethnically diverse sample of 58 high school students to find out where they obtained information about contraception. A substantial minority had been exposed to online contraceptive information, but most did not consider it a main source. A majority had been exposed to this information from school, family, friends, and traditional media. Most teens were wary, or even distrustful, of online sexual health information, whereas school, family and, to a lesser extent, friends, were generally trusted. Our findings suggest that the internet is not filling the sexual health information gap for a number of teens, but we identify strategies that could increase teens awareness of, and trust in, information from this source.

Ann E. Biddlecom was formerly a Senior Research Associate at the Guttmacher Institute. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations.