A new study has revealed that text messaging services are useful for reaching "at-risk" teens about sex.
Washington State University's study found that text messaging that connects teens with sexual health educators is effective for delivering sexual health information.
Lead author Jessica Willoughby said that they found that teens identified as "at-risk" use this text messaging service at a higher rate that other teens, which is a critical first step in helping prevent negative sexual outcomes such as sexually transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy.
The study looked at more than 2,000 students in six public schools where a statewide text message service that connects teens to sexual health educators was promoted. Teens identified as "at-risk," who are more likely to have had sex, to have been in a relationship and to have come from a lower socioeconomic background, were more likely to use the service.
The study reveals that sexual health text message services are reaching the teens who may be most likely to benefit.
With these new tools being provided as a possible option for sexual health information, they felt it was critical to examine how well they are working and for whom they are useful, added Willoughby.
She noted that what they can now say is that text messaging services that allow teens to reach out to a health educator can be an effective option to get critical information into the hands of teens that may need it most.
The research appears in the journal Health Education and Behavior.