Teens, Social Media, and Privacy

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This research study, conducted by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, examines the relationships of teenagers with the various social media that are a big part of modern life. The study states that social media are designed to encourage the sharing of personal information in a public form and, though teenagers have confidence in their ability to adjust the privacy settings of their profiles, they overwhelmingly feel unconcerned about the possibility of unwanted third parties contacting them or accessing their information. Furthermore, the amount of information being shared by teens online has risen significantly since the last study conducted in 2006.

While the study does not explicitly reference any specific implications, the results are relevant to adolescent sexual health in a variety of ways, including the potential for exposure to solicitation or unwanted advertising by companies and individuals and the task of building and maintaining relationships, as well as an online presence and reputation. It is important that youth learn about the responsible use of social media and the potential risks of sharing personal information online.

The Pew Research Center provides nonpartisan, factual information to the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. To read the full report, visit their webpage or click the image above.


LGBTQ Fact Sheet (2010)

LGBTQ youth commonly experience high rates of discrimination and harassment in school but are often not protected under school policy.  In addition, most sex education programs do not cover LGBTQ topics and abstinence-only-until-marriage programs further propagate negative sentiment towards these students.

This fact sheet published by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), provides data and information regarding key issues faced by LGBTQ youth.  Topics that are discussed include harassment, discrimination, legalities, sex education and abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.


Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth Fact Sheet. [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://www.siecus.org

Link to view the SIECUS LGBTQ fact sheet

NCHHSTP State Profiles from Centers for Disease Control (2010)

The 2010 NCHHSTP State Profile is the most recent (as of Jan 2014) statistical report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides information regarding HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB for all 50 states.  Each report also includes descriptions of prevention and control programs that the specific state public health officials and CDC support.

Click here for the PDF of the “NCHHSTP 2010 National Report”

Click here for the PDF of the “NCHHSTP 2010 Illinois Report”

Click here for the link to NCHHSTP Reports for other states


Programs that Work (2008)


Advocates for Youth is an organization that is

Dedicated to creating programs and advocating for policies that help young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health.

The Science and Success (2nd ed. 2008): Sex Education and Other Programs That Work to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, HIV & Sexually Transmitted Infections publication highlights 26 U.S Based programs that have been proven effictive at delaying sexual initiation or reducing sexual risk taking among teens.

  • 14 out of 26 of the programs demonstrated a statistically significant delay in the timing of first sex among youth.
  • 14 out of 26 of the programs increased use of condoms
  • 9 out of 26 demonstrated an increase of other forms of contraception
  • 13 out of 26 showed a reduction in the number of sex partners and/or an increase in monogamy among participants
  • 7 out of 26 assisted sexually active youth to reduce the frequency of sexual intercourse
  • 10 out of 26 helped reduce the incidence of unprotected sex.
  • 13 out of 26 programs showed a decline in tenn pregnancy, HIV or other STIs.
  • 9 out of 26  showed a significant impact on teen pregnancy
  • 4 out of 26 showed a reduced trend in STIs
  • 6 programs achieved improvements in youth’s receipt of health care.

23 of the programs listed in the publication include information about absitence and contraception. The remaining three are programs for early childhood interventions and one is service learning program.

To visit Advocates For Youth’s website click HERE.

For the full publication: Programs that work 2008 full rpt

For the Summary of Programs: Programs that work 2008 Exec Sum

Medical and Public Health Sexual Health Education Recommendations (2007)

This fact sheet issued by ICAH reviews the recommendations for Sexual Health Education in schools by Medical and Public Health organizations such as:

  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Medical Association
  • World Health Organization
  • American Public Health Association
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • Society for Adolescent Medicine

These organizations recommend that Sexual Health Education programs should include the following topics:

  • Abstinence
  • Basics of reproduction
  • Human development (puberty)
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • HIV/AIDs
  • Contraceptives and other barrier methods
  • Communication and behavioral skills (negotiation, refusal, etc)
  • Relationships (familial, sexual, platonic)
  • Information about access and/or condom availability
  • Sexual orientation and gender
  • Decision -making, values, and responsibility

In addition to these topics, some organizations have further recommendations or guidance on Sexual Health Education.

To view the fact sheet click HERE

For further information regarding National Education Standards for Sexual Health Education please visit Futureofsexeducation.org for PDF handouts of the standards for grades K-12.

Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States (2010)

This data brief published by the Centers for Disease Control shows data collected from teens (ages 15-19) who answered questions about formal sexual education they have received and whether or not teens talk to their parents about sex .  Sex education in schools and other places, as well as received from parents, provides adolescents with information to make informed choices about sex at a crucial period of their development.

  • Female teenagers were more likely than male teenagers to talk to their parents about “how to say no to sex,” methods of birth control, and where to get birth control
  • Parental communication about sex education topics with their teenagers is associated with delayed sexual initiation and increased birth control method and condom use among sexually experienced teenagers
  • About one-half of teenagers reported first receiving instruction on “how to say no to sex,” STDs, and how to prevent HIV/AIDS while in middle school.

Citation:  Martinez, G. (2010).  Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States.  CDC Data Brief.

Link to “Educating Teenagers About Sex in the United States”

Curricula Assessment Tool (2007)

The Curricula Assessment Tool was designed by the ICAH to serve as a guide for Teachers, Administrators, Students, Parents and Members of the community working to ensure that the sex education curriculum being taught meets high standards for content and focus.

Acting as a checklist, the form provides the items required by the state of Illinois to be included in the sex education curriculum as well as items that meet the health learning standards for the State Board of Education.

You can view and download the form below.

Curriculum Assessment Tool 2007

Waxman Report – Abstinence Only Programs (2004)

In 2005, the federal government planned to spend $170 million dollars on abstinence-only sex education programs under the Bush administration.  At the request of Rep. Henry Waxman, this report evaluates the content of the most popular abstinence-only curricula used by grantees of the largest federal abstinence initiative at the time, SPRANS (Special Programs of Regional and National Significance Community-Based Abstinence Education). Through SPRANS, the Department of Health and Human Services provides grants to community organizations that teach abstinence-only curricula to youth. The curricula used in SPRANS and other federally funded programs are not reviewed for accuracy by the federal government.

The report finds that over 80% of the abstinence-only curricula, used by over two-thirds of SPRANS grantees in 2003, contain false, misleading, or distorted information about reproductive health.   Some examples include:

  • None of the curricula provides information on how to select a birth control method and use it effectively. However, several curricula exaggerate condom failure rates in preventing pregnancy.
  • Two other curricula understate condom effectiveness by neglecting to explain that failure rates represent the chance of pregnancy over the course of a year. One states: “Couples who use condoms to avoid a pregnancy have a failure rate of 15%.”50 The other claims: “The typical failure rate for the male condom is 14% in preventing pregnancy.”51 These statements inaccurately suggest that the chance of pregnancy is 14% to 15% after each act of protected intercourse. In addition, they do not make clear that most condom “failure” is due to incorrect or inconsistent use.

The report provides details about the following conclusions–

Abstinence-Only Curricula…

  • Contain false information about the effectiveness of contraceptives
  • Contain false information about the risks of abortion
  • Blur religion and science
  • Treat stereotypes about girls and boys as scientific fact
  • Contain scientific errors

Citation:  United States House of Representatives (2004).  The Content of Federally Funded Abstinence-Only Education Programs.

Link to “Waxman Report- Abstinence Only Programs”

The Impact of Abstinence and Comprehensive Sex and STD-HIV Education Programs on Adolescent Sexual Behavior (2008)

There has been an ongoing debate about the effectiveness of abstinence-only versus comprehensive sex education and the impacts these two programs have on adolescent sexual health and behaviors.  Over the past 15 years, many researchers have studied the impact of abstinence programs on adolescents’ sexual knowledge, behaviors, and intentions but Dr. Kirby considers these research studies poorly designed and not objective.  By reviewing and evaluating both abstinence-only and comprehensive sex education programs, Dr. Kirby hopes to come clearer conclusions as to which program is most effective.

Dr. Kirby rigorously reviewed and evaluated 56 studies that assessed the impact of such curricula (8 that evaluated 9 abstinence programs and 48 that evaluated comprehensive programs) and studied whether these caused positive or negative changes to adolescents’ behaviors.

Dr. Kirby’s study results indicated that most abstinence programs did not delay initiation of sex and only 3 of 9 programs had any significant positive effects on any sexual behavior. On the other hand, about two thirds of comprehensive programs showed strong evidence that they positively affected young people’s sexual behavior, including both delaying initiation of sex and increasing condom and contraceptive use among important groups of youth.

Dr. Kirby concludes that:

  1. Some evidence (but no strong evidence) currently supports the assumption that abstinence program is effective at delaying first sex for adolescents
  2. Abstinence programs are not more effective at delaying initiative of sex compared to comprehensive sex education programs
  3. Abstinence programs are not sufficiently effective in eliminating teen’s sexual risks or eliminating comprehensive sexual education programs
  4. There is stronger evidence that comprehensive sex education can delay initiation of sex and increase contraception use

Citation:  Kirby, D. B. (2008). The Impact Of Abstinence And Comprehensive Sex And STD/HIV Education Programs On Adolescent Sexual Behavior. Sexuality Research and Social Policy: Journal of NSRC5(3), 18-27.

Link to “The Impact of Abstinence and Comprehensive Sex and STD-HIV Education Programs on Adolescent Sexual Behavior”

U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity (2013)

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This report, compiled by Guttmacher Institute, contains the most recent statistics available (from 2008) on teenage pregnancy, birth, miscarriages and abortion.  It also details population trends and trends among states and information concerning different races and ethnicities.  The report is largely data, but has a lot of compelling key findings that are listed in the beginning of the report.

Some findings include:

  • New Mexico had the highest teenage pregnancy rate and New Hampshire, Vermont, Minnesota, North Dakota and Massachusetts had the lowest teenage pregnancy rates in 2008.
  • Teenage abortion rates was highest in New York in 2008.
  • New Jersey had the largest decrease in teen pregnancy rate between 2005-2008


Kost, K. and Henshaw, S. U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity (2013).

Link to “U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity.

Bricks, Mortar, and Community: The Foundations of Supportive Housing for Pregnant and Parenting TeensThe Core Components of Supportive Housing for Pregnant & Parenting Teens (2010)

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This resource complied by the Healthy Teen Network and Child Trends hopes to identify a set of core components for supportive housing programs serving pregnant and parenting youth and review case studies of organizations and programs that meet these standards.  The Healthy Teen Network and Child Trends worked with a national advisory group, utilized quantitative and qualitative survey methods and developed case studies of programs showing a strong implementation of the core components in order to compile this information.

The resource first provides a background introduction of the current data regarding pregnant and parenting teens and then a very detailed explanation of each of the five Core Components.

The five Core Components are:

  1. Supports and Resources to Promote Self-Sufficiency
  2. Supports and Resources to Promote Housing Stability
  3. Supports and Resources to Promote Financial Stability
  4. Supports and Resources to Promote Successful and Engaged Parenting and Attachment
  5. Supports and Resources to Promote Healthy Relationships

The Core Components can support pregnant and parenting youth so that they can both thrive as individuals and as parents.  Promoting self-sufficiency, housing stability, financial stability, successful and engaged parenting and attachment and healthy relationship provides a well-rounded education approach for these teens and can help them transition to independent living.  A list of resources is also included at the end.


Barry, M., Desiderio, G., Ikramullah, E., Manlove, J., Max, J. and Scott, M. Bricks, Mortar, and Community:  The Foundations of Supportive Housing for Pregnant and Parenting TeensThe Core Components of Supportive Housing for Pregnant & Parenting Teens. 2010.

Link to “Bricks, Mortar, and Community:  The Foundations of Supportive Housing for Pregnant and Parenting TeensThe Core Components of Supportive Housing for Pregnant & Parenting Teens.” (PDF)

Preventing Teen Pregnancy among Marginalized Youth: Developing a Policy, Program, and Research Agenda for the Future: Full Report (2009)



The Healthy Teen Network, with the support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, has long explored how to better meet the needs of marginalized youth and subsequently reduce their risk for early pregnancy and parenting. In 2008, a year-long effort included: a review of the literature on what we know about today’s youth, their risk factors and what works to prevent early pregnancy among those most marginalized; development of a brief paper which synthesized these findings; a one-day summit including a diverse set of experts in the fields of teen pregnancy prevention and youth development to discuss the state of the field and develop a set of policy, program and research recommendations for moving forward, and a presentation and discussion with the field at large during Healthy Teen Network’s annual conference.

The Executive Summary provides a brief description of the issues, the summit and the recommendations for future policy, research and programs. The Executive Summary can be viewed here: Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Marginalized Youth: Executive Summary

For the full report: Preventing Teen Pregnancy Among Marginalized Youth: Full Report

Health-Risk Behaviors in Young Adolescents in Child Welfare System (YEAR)

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Purpose: To examine rates and patters of health-risk behavior (e.g., sexuality, depression/suicidality, substance use, delinquency) among a national probability of youth active to the child welfare systems, Medicaid, and pediatric experts to collaborate to ensure youth entering foster care receive comprehensive health examinations.

Results: Almost half of the sample (46.3%) endorsed at least one health-risk behavior. On Poisson multivariate regression modeling, factors related to higher rates of health-risk behaviors included older age, female gender, abuse history, deviant peers, limited caregiver monitoring, and poor school engagement.

Conclusion: Given the heightened vulnerability of this population, early screening for health-risk behaviors must be prioritized. Further research should explore specific subpopulations at risk for health-risk behaviors and possible interventions to change these youths’ trajectories.

To view the entire review: Health-Risk Behaviors in Young Adolescents in the Child Welfare System


Leslie, L.K., James, S., Monn, A., Kauten, M.C., Zhang, J., & Aarons, G. (2010) Health-Risk Behaviors in Young Adolescents in the Child Welfare System, Journal of Adolescent Health. 47, 26-34

Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (2009)

This research study, published in the journal Pediatrics, uses data from a national longitudinal sample of youths to look at whether there is a possible connection between exposure to sex on television and adolescent pregnancy.  A previous study by Collins et al. found a relationship between exposure to sex on television and earlier initiation of sex among adolescents and this study is a follow-up and extension of that study.

Data for this survey were from a longitudinal survey of youths ages 12-17 years old.  The youths were first interviewed in 2001 and then were contacted twice in 2002 and 2004 for follow-up surveys.  They survey measured factors such as television viewing, exposure to sexual content on television, sexual knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, and whether he or she has gotten a girl pregnant or become pregnant.

The study found that “adolescents who view substantial televised sexual content have an increased risk of experiencing a pregnancy before age 20, compared with youths who view less sexual content on television” (Chandra et al. 1052).  The study reinforces the importance of encouraging industry leaders of the media to include televised messages about the consequences youths face when engaging in sexual activity and also the importance of educating pediatricians about the effects of television on child and adolescent health.


Chandra, A., Martino, S.C., Collins, R.L., Elliott, M.N., Berry, S.B., Kanouse, D.E. and Miu, A. Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy? Findings From a National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. (2008). Pediatrics. 122:1047.

Link to “Does Watching Sex on Television Predict Teen Pregnancy?”

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Parent–Adolescent Sexual Communication: Associations of Condom Use with Condom Discussions (2009)

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This study, published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, examines the relationship between teen-parent sexual communication, discussion about condoms, and condom use among teens in mental health treatment.  Adolescents between the ages 13-17 years old and who have undergone mental health treatment within the past year were eligible.  Both eligible adolescents and their parents were interviewed for data collection.

Several interesting results were found:

  • “Adolescents reported discussing sexual topics more frequently than anticipated […] nearly 80% of adolescents reported discussions about condoms with parents” (Hadley et al. Pg. 1002)
  • “[…] among this sample of adolescents with high rates of psychiatric disorders and family turmoil, discussion about sex occurred at relatively high rates” (Hadley et al. Pg. 1002).
  • “[…] adolescents who report discussing condoms with their parents were significantly more likely to use condoms with their parents were significantly more likely to use condoms consistently” (Hadley et al. Pg. 1003).


Hadley, W., Brown, L.K., Lescano, C.M., Kell, H., Spalding, K., DiClemente, R., Donenberg, G. and Project STYLE Study Group. Parent–Adolescent Sexual Communication: Associations of Condom Use with Condom Discussions. 2009. AIDS Behav. 13:997-1004.

Link to “Parent–Adolescent Sexual Communication: Associations of Condom Use with Condom Discussions” (Subscription Only)

Adolescents’ Reports of Communication With Their Parents About STDs and Birth Control: 1988, 1995, and 2002

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This article, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, reports the trends found in adolescents’ reports of discussion with parents about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and birth control methods from 1988 to 2002.

The data analyzed were from the National Survey of Adolescent Males and the National Survey of Family Growth.  The sample population consisted of adolescents 15-17 years old.

In 2002, fewer female adolescents reported discussion with a parent about STD or birth control methods than in 1995. The share of female adolescents in 2002 reporting no discussion of either topic with their parents increased by almost half compared to 1995. Patterns across time in male adolescents’ discussions of birth control methods with their parents appear stable.

The recent decline in female adolescent reports of parent-communication about birth control and STDs, and the increase in female adolescent reports of no discussion of either topic suggest that public health officials, educators, and clinicians should invigorate their efforts to encourage parents to talk with their children about STDs and birth control.



Robert, A. and Sonenstein, F. Adolescents’ Reports of Communication With Their Parents About STDs and Birth Control: 1988, 1995, and 2002. 2010. Journal of Adolescent Health. 46:6. 532-7.

Link to “Adolescents’ Reports of Communication With Their Parents About STDs and Birth Control: 1988, 1995, and 2002” (Subscription Only)

P.O.C. Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections Increases Awareness and Short-Term Abstinence in Adolescent Women (2009)

This study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, evaluates the effect of point-of-care (POC) testing for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) on reported awareness of test results and STI risk-reduction behaviors in adolescents.

Point of care (POC) testing is defined as medical testing at the site where patients visited their clinician and had a pelvic exam.  In the usual STI testing scenario, the patient is tested for STI and given presumptive treatment which might be inappropriate and some patients may remain unaware of their actual STI status.  Patients in this study were given POC results within 20 minutes and no one left without receiving her results.  Subjects were also recruited for a follow-up phone call and had to answer questions about sexual activity, condome use, treatment and partner notification.

This research study found that young women with positive POC results were more likely to report their awareness of their STI diagnosis and this awareness also increased risk-reduction behaviors such as abstinence, partner discussion and partner testing.

Link to “P.O.C. Testing for Sexually Transmitted Infections Increases Awareness and Short-Term Abstinence in Adolescent Women”

National HIV AIDS Strategy for the United States (2010)

Vision for the National HIV/AIDS Strategy

The United States will become a place where new HIV infections are rare and when they do occur, every person, regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or socio-economic circumstance, will have unfettered access to high quality, life-extending care, free from stigma and discrimination.
Executive Summary:
When one of our fellow citizens becomes infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) every nine-and-a-half minutes, the empidemic affects all Americans. It has been nearly thirty years since the first cases of HIV garnered the world’s attention. Without treatment, the virus slowly debilitates a person’s immune system until the succumb to illness. The epidemic has claimed the lives of nearly 600,000 Americans and affects many more. Our Nation is at a crossroads. We have the knowledge and tools needed to slow the spread of HIV infection and improve the health of people living with HIV. Despite this potential, however, the public’s sense of urgency associated with combating the epidemic appears to be declining. In 1995, 44% of the general public indicated that HIV/AIDS was the most urgent health problem facing the Nation, compared to only 6% in March of 2009. While  HIV transmission rates have been reduced substantially over time and people with HIV are living longer and more productive lives, approximately 56,000 people become infected each year and more Americans are living with HIV than ever before. Unless we take bold actions, we face a new era of rising infections, greater challenges in serving people living with HIV, and higher health care costs.
President Obama committed to developing a National HIV/AIDS Strategy with three primary goals: 1) reducing the number of people who become infected with HIV, 2) increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes for people living with HIV, and 3) reducing HIV-related health disparities. To accomplish these goals, we must undertake a more coordinated national response to the HIV epidemic. The Strategy is intended to be a concise plan that will identify a set of priorities and strategic action steps tied to measurable outcomes. Accompanying the Strategy is a Federal Implementation Plan that outlines the specific steps to be taken by various Federal agencies to support the high-level priorities outlined in the Strategy. This is an ambitious plan that will challenge us to meet all the goals that we set. The job, however, does not fall to the Federal Government alone, nor should it. Success will require the commitment of all parts of society, including State, tribal and local governments, businessess, faith communities, philanthropy, the scientific and medical communities, educational institutions, people living with HIV, and others.
To view the entire document: National HIV/AIDS Strategy

Male Circumcision and Risk of HIV Infection among Heterosexual African American Men Attending Baltimore STI Clinics (2008)

This article, published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, examined the association between male circumcision and the risk of HIV infection among a subset of heterosexual men in the U.S.

Electronic clinic records were reviewed for heterosexual African American men who were HIV tested between 1993-2000.  The patients were divided as to whether they had a “known HIV exposure” or “unknown HIV exposure.”  Their HIV test results and whether they were circumcised were recorded.

The results showed that for African American men in Baltimore with known HIV exposure, circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired HIV infection.  This result is consistent with three other published randomized studies from South Africa, Uganda and Kenya.


Warner, L., Ghanem, K.G., Newman, D., Macaluso, M., Sullivan, P. and Erbelding, E. J. Male Circumcision and Risk of HIV Infection among Heterosexual African American Men Attending Baltimore Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics. 2008. Journal of Infectious Diseases. 199(1):59-65.

Link to “Male Circumcision and Risk of HIV Infection among Heterosexual African American Men Attending Baltimore Sexually Transmitted Disease Clinics”

HIV Statistics in the United States (2011)

This webpage is currently the most up to date resource provided by the Centers for Disease Control about HIV statistics in the United States.

The data is from the HIV Surveillance Report from 2011.  The following information is provided:

  • Definitions about HIV & Statistical terminology
  • HIV Prevalence Estimate
  • HIV incidence Estimate
  • Diagnoses of HIV Infection
  • Diagnoses of HIV Infection, by Age
  • Diagnoses of HIV Infections, by Race/Ethnicity
  • Diagnoses of HIV Infections, by Transmission Category
  • HIV Diagnoses, by Top 10 States/Dependent Areas
  • Persons Living with a Diagnosis of HIV Infection
  • AIDS Diagnoses
  • AIDS Diagnoses, by Age
  • AIDS Diagnoses, by Race/Ethnicity

Link to “HIV Statistics in the United States (2011)”