Stresses & Risks for Transgender Teens

What social stresses might transgender youth face? With the recent mandate for schools to make bathrooms transgender-inclusive [1], and the revelations from Caitlyn Jenner [2], public discussions about people who are transgender have exponentially increased. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all parents of transgender teens are feeling better equipped to talk to their teens about what it means to be transgender or about the challenges that transgender youth can face. Parents make a clear and resounding difference. Transgender youth who have supportive parents do better emotionally – they have better mental health and are generally happier than their unsupported peers [3,4]. So first, just to make sure we’re all clear on what we’re talking about: Gender identity is one’s knowing of … [Read more...]

STI testing: What are teens concerned about?

1 in 2 new cases of STIs occur among young people. How can we change this? Sores? Blisters? Pus oozing from a genital area? Most of us don’t need Google to know that sexually transmitted diseases (STI) can be physically uncomfortable – and really yucky-feeling – to have. This discomfort is mirrored in how many of us feel about talking about STIs with teens. We need to get over this discomfort though, because half of all new cases of STIs occur among 15- to 24-year-olds [1]. We need to move beyond our discomfort and start talking to young people to help them get and stay healthy. I know it’s a difficult discussion, so here are 3 concrete things that you can talk to your teens about: Many teens don’t think they are at risk for STIs The most common reason that youth have never … [Read more...]

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...]