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.


Sex and Tech Survey

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (NCPTUP) and Cosmogirl.com came together to explore “sexting” among teens, ages 13-19 and young adults, ages 20-26. The study, conducted by TRU, a leader in studying  teens and young adults, asked participants questions about sending and receiving nude and semi-nude photos and sexually suggestive messaging via electronic devices, how these sexually suggestive images and messaging impacted their real-life, and also if it was common to share explicit material with others. The article also includes “5 tips to help parents talk to their kids about sex and technology.” A copy of the “Sex and Tech” questionnaire is also included.

Some interesting findings include:

  • “51% of teen girls say pressure from a guy is a reason girls send sexy messages or images; only 18% of teen boys cited pressure from female counterparts as a reason.” (p. 4)
  • “83% of young adult women and 75% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive content say they have sent/posted such material to a boyfriend/ girlfriend.” (p. 2)
  • “75% of teens and 71% of young adults say sending sexually suggestive content “can have serious nega- tive consequences.” (p. 3)

Citation: The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Sex and tech: Results from a survey of teens and young adults. Retrieved from http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/sextech/pdf/sextech_summary.pdf

Link to “Sex and Tech Survey” (PDF)

Trends in Internet & Mobile HIV Prevention (2007)

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As the number of people using the internet cell phones increase, the use of such technology as health intervention and prevention tools has been proposed and examined.  Programs can reach a much larger and geographically diverse population and information can be individually tailored, thus increasing the impact and relevancy of health education efforts.

In this study, the authors conducted a literature review on PubMed and the NIH Computer Retrieval of Information on Scientific Projects in order to identify recent advances in technology-based HIV prevention and intervention research.  They found that the state of internet based HIV prevention and intervention efforts are still preliminary but studies also highlighted the feasibility and likability of Internet-based and cell-phone based HIV education programs for the target population.  The studies also show promising data regarding participant retention and possible positive behavior changes.

Link to “Trends in Internet and Mobile HIV Prevention.” (PDF)

Computer Technology-Based HIV Prevention Interventions (2008)


This fact sheet discusses the use of technology in the process of behavioral interventions to promote positive practices as way to reduce the transmission of HIV/AIDS. These computer technology-based measures are individually tailored, can be interactive videos, and group targeted. The success rates of these computer-based intervention measures were discussed, how these interventions work in a rural context, internet-based interventions, and how to develop internet-based interventions.

  • “Comparison of the impact of computer technology-based interventions with previously tested human-delivered interventions generally revealed similar effects of these two intervention types.” (p. 2)
  • “[In terms of internet-based interventions], many of these types of interventions may show promise in terms of innovative HIV prevention strategies, but strong evaluation data on these approaches are not yet available.” (p. 2)
  • “Interventions were most efficacious when: 1) they targeted a single gender (rather than both genders), 2) they used individualized tailoring and a stages of change model, 3) they included multiple intervention sessions.” (p. 2)

Citation: Rural Center for AIDS/STD Prevention. (2008) Computer Technology-Based HIV Prevention Interventions. No. 22. 1-4

Link to fact sheet.

Estimation of HIV Incidence in the United States (2008)

Journal of the American Medical Association article conclusion states: This study provides the first direct estimates of HIV incidence in the United States using laboratory technologies previously implemented only in clinic-based settings. New HIV infections in the United States remain concentrated among men who have sex with men and among black individuals.

For a full text version of this article, please contact your local library.

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