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SMS Sex Education Services

A discussion of a number of SMS sex education services throughout the US.

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http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/31/us/sex-education-for-teenagers-online-and-in-texts.html?mcubz=0

This 2011 NYT article discusses a number of different SMS based sex education services throughout the US. One interesting point is that SMS services (and internet services more generally) do not necessarily have to comply with the sex ed laws in a given state.


In addition to reaching students, SMS services can also reach kids who have dropped out of school. The services can also be valuable to teachers who haven't received the proper training or are legally barred from teaching scientifically accurate information in their districts.


Challenges to these programs include abstinence only education advocates and the difficulty of directing students to these programs when searching for information online, rather than porn sites or sites with scientifically inaccurate information. A successful solution for outreach turned out to be student led SMS chains.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4259982/

This article examines the success of The Hookup, one of the SMS services mentioned in the NYT article. It also considers the difficulty of determining the efficacy of SMS based education services.

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Photo of Ting Ting Yan

I was thinking something like this existed. Since texting is so prevalent these days, anywhere from texting your therapist to a dating coach, why not find the consumer on the platform he or she is most comfortable with?

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Alex for this review of SMS-based resources.
It seems that in developing countries SMS has also been used widely which opens up interesting options for solutions that can be implemented globally.
Check for example:
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-srh/research/meet-us-on-the-phone-mobile-phone-programs-for-adolescent-sexual-and-reproductive-health-in-low-to-middle-income-countries
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-srh/research/sms-based-platform-to-provide-sexual-health-education
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-srh/research/mobile-4-reproductive-health-m4rh

I thought this program was interesting because it also had a community aspect:
https://challenges.openideo.com/challenge/youth-srh/research/contraceptive-e-mart