Is Sex in the Media Related to Sexual Behavior Among Teens?

How do teens exposed to a lot versus a little sexual media differ? Gone are the days when Lucy and Desi of “I Love Lucy” slept in separate beds. Instead, television shows containing nudity and sexual scenes, such as “Empire”, “Scandal”, or “How to Get Away with Murder,” have become more commonplace.  Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, to hear that the amount of sexual content in the media has increased in the 21st century.[1] In our Growing up with Media study, we found that most youth (47%) are exposed to a LOT of sexual content – they said that many, almost all, or all of at least one type of media they consume depict sexual situations like people kissing, fondling each other, and having sex. Conversely, very few – less than one in ten (8%) – report low exposure to sexual … [Read more...]

Three Things Parents Do About Online Safety: Then & Now

Two research surveys ask parents what they do to keep their kids safe online. The Internet landscape has changed a lot over the past several years. Throughout this transformation, the concern of Internet safety has persisted. Given how much the Internet has changed, we wonder if parents’ views on their kids’ online safety have also changed. To address this question, we decided to look at two research studies: Here, at the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, we conducted a national, longitudinal online survey, called Growing up with Media. The first wave of this longitudinal survey began in 2006 and has since run 6 more waves. At Pew Research Center, the national online Teen Relationship study was recently conducted between late 2014 to early 2015. Part of the study’s goal … [Read more...]

How Teen Dating Violence Differs Between Boys and Girls

An infographic, based on a recent paper, examines TDV by sex. Teen dating violence (TDV), sometimes called adolescent dating abuse, is unfortunately common among adolescents. In a recently published paper, we found that as many as 1 in 3 adolescents are involved with TDV as both victim and perpetrator. This finding suggests that adolescents experience TDV in complicated ways and learning healthy communication can be beneficial for both sexes. To learn more about how TDV differs between boys and girls, check out our new infographic: This infographic is based on our publication: Ybarra ML, Espelage DL, Langhinrichsen-Rohling J, Korchmaros JD, boyd d. Lifetime prevalence rates and overlap of physical, psychological, and sexual dating abuse perpetration and victimization in a … [Read more...]

Infographic: A Snapshot of Who Is Sexting in Adolescence

Teen sexting isn't always a problem behavior, but part of sexual exploration. Although "sexting" is sometimes portrayed as a recent problem caused by new technologies (e.g., cell phones, social media), people have shared self-created nude photos since the days of the Polaroid camera. Nonetheless, parents may be concerned what it may mean if their child is sharing sexually explicit photos of themselves through technology. In our new infographic, we highlight our study findings on some ways teenagers who sext may differ from teens who do not sext. This infographic also suggests how we can recognize that sexting is not so much a problem behavior of the digital age, but an indication that youth may need mental health support and learn behaviors for healthy sex. Data are from the Teen … [Read more...]

To Use or Not Use Condoms? Gay, Bi, Queer Teen Guys Tell Us

In light of International Condom Day, our new infographic showcases quotes from our online discussion with gay, bisexual, and queer teen guys on condom use. Young men who have sex with men are among the groups with the fastest growing rates of new cases of HIV [1]. Therefore, encouraging gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ)-identifying teenage men to use condoms is an important preventive step. As part of our formative work to develop a salient healthy sexuality program for GBQ young men [2], we held an online discussion with 75 GBQ teenagers. Their resulting feedback shed insight on the types of their challenges that they faced in getting and using condoms, as well as some of the reasons why they choose to use or not use condoms. In light of International Condom Day on February 13th [3], … [Read more...]

How Cell Phones Will Be a Bigger Part of Our Health in 2016

Advances in mobile technology allow for sophisticated mobile health. With 9 in 10 Americans owning some kind of cell phone, 2016 is looking to be an exciting year for mobile health - that is, health care or health information delivered through mobile devices like cell phones, tablets, and smartphones [1-3]! Mobile health is definitely a game-changer: It has the potential to keep costs low and increase access to health information and medical attention – especially for those who may not have easy access to care (for instance, because they live in rural areas) [1]. Smartphones Getting Smarter With the number of Americans who own smartphones doubling in the past five years, digital trend watchers are really focusing on the potential for smartphones to change mobile … [Read more...]

Why Aren’t Gay, Bi, Queer Teen Guys Getting Tested for HIV?

GBQ guys name some of their biggest challenges to getting HIV tested. In the U.S., human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affects 13- to 24-year-old men who have sex with men (MSM) more than any other age or gender group [1]. Indeed, new HIV infections are increasing fastest among adolescent MSM compared to all other groups [1]. While HIV treatments have improved a lot in the past decade, these treatments are more successful when the virus is detected earlier [2, 3]. This means testing is an important part of ending the epidemic [3]. However, only an estimated 1 in 2 gay and bisexual young men living with HIV are aware of their infection [1]. Consistent with this finding, we recently collected data from just over 300 gay, bisexual, and queer (GBQ) teen guys, and only 3 in 10 sexually … [Read more...]

Infographic: How Bullying Affects Youth

We hear a lot about bullying these days. Some people think it is just youth being mean to one another - but bullying is different. While peer harassment is somewhat common between youth, bullying happens less frequently. The effects of bullying on youth who experience it are also greater. By learning more about what bullying is and how it affects youth, we can do more to address it and prevent it. Learn more with our infographic, How Bullying Affects Youth. Learn more about our research at Center for Innovative Public Health Research. Find us on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. Acknowledgments: Thanks to Emilie Chen for her contributions to this blog. … [Read more...]

Online Activities of Youth who Engage in Self-Harm Behaviors

 Following up last month's post on websites about self-harm, we explore what young people who engage in self-harm behavior do online, in our new infographic. Compared to youth who do not engage in self-harm, youth with self-harm behaviors use the Internet in different ways. This information may provide channels through which distressed youth can be reached. For full details, visit the infographic Online Activities of Youth who Engage in Self-Harm Behaviors. Learn more about our research at Center for Innovative Public Health Research. Find us on Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. Acknowledgments: Thanks to Dr. Kimberly Mitchell and Emilie Chen for their contributions to this blog. … [Read more...]

Self-Harm Websites and Teens Who Visit Them

We can all agree the Internet brings us together. It improves our lives in tons of ways (think: social media, online shopping, access to health-improving information). At the same time, this large virtual space also accommodates niche communities that encourage unhealthy or harmful behavior. One example is the online communities that share self-harm experiences and, in some cases, encourage self-harm or suicide [1]. Self-harm behavior involves intentionally injuring or hurting oneself (e.g., cutting) [2]. Although self-harming behavior may indicate depression or serious mental health conditions that are associated with suicidal intentions, people do not always self-harm because they want to die by suicide [2]. It is important to understand that this behavior is not the same as a suicide … [Read more...]