Wednesday, May 26, 2010

(Safe) Sex and the City

sex and the cityAs I impatiently await the release of Sex and the City 2 I can’t help but wonder what issues my favorite gals are going to tackle next. Last time there was the issue of Miranda’s nonexistent sex life, Carrie’s continuous emotional roller coaster with Big, and Samantha’s break up with Smith. The women of Sex and the City hold no punches when they dish about the men in their lives and their likes and dislikes when it comes to relationships. They share everything much like many of us do with our own gal pals, but I can’t help but notice that there is one very important aspect of sex that’s missing from the Sex and the City girl talk…safety.

Why does Samantha (the vixen) never mention her favorite brand of condoms during girl talk? Remember when Miranda got pregnant, that would’ve been the perfect opportunity to talk about being prepared. I’m guessing that the writers didn’t put that in because we are supposed to assume that these beautiful, successful women are smart enough to practice safe sex, but with the birth rate of young adults steadily increasing we’re seeing that this is not the case. All too often young women are talking about sex, but not mentioning the importance of being prepared. As a twenty-something myself I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked what EC is or where to get tested, and many times I’m asked these questions too late.

I admit that my last two years at the Campaign have given me a wealth of knowledge that I know I would not have had otherwise. It also has made me more comfortable discussing matters of sexual health with my friends. I’ve also learned that sexual health doesn’t begin and end when you’re a teenager. Young women have the same issues with assertiveness and insecurity that some teen girls face, which totally puts them at risk. I want all of my friends to have wonderful, happy and healthy relationships, which is why when we go out on May 27th for our cosmos and convo I’m going to make sure we talk Safe Sex in the City.

written by: Zenica Chatman
contact Zenica:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Where are the Single Ladies? I Only See Pre-teen Girls!

So let’s go ahead and talk about it! The video- the risqué costumes, the shocking and suggestive dance moves…nope, not the newest Lady Gaga video-it is a dance recital of pre-teen girls, filmed, posted all of the internet, to the shock and disgust of most mommies on the blogsphere! But here’s something that is also interesting, the kids of parent bloggers are seeing it too…but not just on the internet.
Pre-teens today are exposed to the same amount of media that older teens are, and as shocking as it might be, they are also very aware of what these media messages are portraying-“SEX SELLS!” Pre-pubescent children are on the brink of big changes to their bodies, their minds, and their social interactions, but parents tend to think they are not yet aware of sex or sexuality. “TeenNICK” should prove them wrong, but it’s hard for parents to let go of the idea of their baby and grasp the idea that there is an independent person just waiting to start fighting their way into adulthood!
With the visual of the  young girls crumping” (thank you little sister!) and “grinding” to "Single Ladies", parents have the option (and the right!) to be upset. They can be glad it isn’t their child, and that they are more responsible than to have them exposed to "that kind of extracurricular activity" (seriously a quote from a web comments!). Parents also have the option to sit quietly as their children absorb more of this sexualized culture without any guidance or filter, which many will do, judging from the online comments already posted all over the web!
But parents can also do something else.  They can have a conversation about this video or about what their teens are seeing everywhere in today’s media world. They can use it as a doorway to talk about self respect, self esteem, sexuality (everyone has it!), and anything else parents or children want to discuss!  Turn off the TV, take a break from the internt-Learn the CHICKEN DANCE!  Spend time being the filter, teaching your children your values!
Use the opportunites that media give all caring adults to talk to our young people.  Because if we don't, videos like this will.
By:  Taylor Wilson

Monday, May 10, 2010

Social Media Revolution

Last week I presented at the quarterly training for the South Carolina Association of Prevention Professionals and Advocates on the importance of using technology to communicate your prevention message. I discussed the need to include Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, etc. in prevention efforts – especially with teens.

This morning, as I was catching up on some of my daily newsletters, I came across a video that I wish I had had for my presentation. In a nutshell, this sums up all of the information I was trying to get across. Even if you are not in a Communications role at your organization, this video is important for everyone to see.

You can view it by clicking here or by visiting the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy’s You Tube channel.

By: Cayci S. Banks, Director of Communications
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Friday, May 7, 2010

Are You Prepared to Parent? Mother's Day Ponderings

In honor of Mother’s day this weekend, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on my childhood. I was raised in a house where giggles were contagious, hugs were expected and family came first. My mother created an environment in which we supported each other and challenged each other to reach our goals. Don’t get me wrong, our house was not exactly reminiscent of “The Cleavers”. We had our fair share of fusses and crocodile tears. But at the end of the day, my mother was always there for us and loved us unconditionally. I believe my mother was able to provide this environment because she planned for us. She wanted to give us a lifestyle that fostered communication, trust and support.
This makes me think, are teens today thinking about the type of parent they want to be when they are engaging in unprotected sex? We are all aware of the negative implications of teen pregnancy for teen parents, but what about the implications of unplanned pregnancy for the children of teen parents? When adults plan their pregnancy, they are more equipped to deal with the stressors of being a parent and more prepared to support the child financially, mentally, emotionally and physically.1 According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, children born following an unplanned pregnancy are significantly less likely to be raised in two-parent families and significantly more likely to experience negative health and developmental consequences.1 Infants born to unplanned pregnancies are also at an increased risk of being born prematurely and at a low birth-weight.1 Conversely, children who are born to planned pregnancies are directly linked to decreased poverty and increased educational opportunities.1
I am sure that teens are not necessarily thinking of the type of parent that they want to be but the fact of the matter is this: if you are engaging in unprotected sex, you need to be thinking about being a parent because you are putting yourself at risk for an unplanned pregnancy. Teens are most likely planning for senior prom, high school graduation, college or their future career path….not for parenthood. Parenthood is not an accessory and rather than just thinking about it as just another “responsibility”, think about it being the “ability to respond”. Parenthood should be something that is thoroughly planned for within a loving and committed relationship. It should not be an afterthought after a night of “ooops, I forgot a condom”. Simply stated – you may be able to have sex, but are you able to be the type of parent that you want to be?
At 26 years old, I am still not prepared for parenthood. Although when I am prepared and ready to take on the responsibility of a child, I hope to be the type of mother that my mother is to me. But for now, I am perfectly content being a mother to an 80 pound Labrador retriever and two loving cats!
By: Sarah Kershner, MPH, CHES; Research and Evaluation Specialist