Sexual activity is a central topic during teenage. Newly developed physical features and hormonal changes cause a sharp increase in interest in sex during this period. Teenagers must make choices about their level of engagement in sexual activity. Human services professionals are often part of this decision-making process.
Consider the following discussion question and activity.
There are multiple approaches to talking to teenagers about sexual activity. The abstinence-only approach encourages teenagers not to engage in sexual activity. An alternative approach educates them about birth control and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention. Some programs even provide teenagers with contraceptives.
Review the professional literature—articles from peer-reviewed journals and relevant textbooks—and discuss the pros and cons of these two approaches when talking to teenagers about sex. What cultural factors should be considered when discussing sex with teenagers? According to research, which approach is most effective?
After identifying the most effective approach to talking to teenagers about sex, design a one- to two-minute public service announcement that addresses sexual activity among teenagers. Consider the typical patterns of physical, cognitive, and psychosocial development during adolescence in order to make the announcement appealing to this age group. Describe your target audience and explain how you would distribute your message for the greatest impact.