The More Things Change…: The Relative Importance of the Internet as a Source of Contraceptive Information for Teens
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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.
KeywordsAdolescents Birth control World Wide Web Sexuality education United States
The authors thank Luciana Hebert and Ruth Milne for their substantive contributions to the project. We are also grateful to several school staff members (names purposely excluded to protect the identities of the schools) for their invaluable guidance and help with recruitment activities. This project was funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.
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