European approaches to adolescent sexual health and behavior
In Europe, I saw how kids are taught what we call the three R's: rights, respect, and responsibility. Parents trust their children to make the right decisions. In America, teens are often told they're "too young" to deal with sex. Instead of avoiding the issue, I think we should help kids understand when they aren't ready to have sex, and, if they're going to do it, to do it safely. "Safer sex or no sex" should be everybody's motto, worldwide.
—Melissa Harris, student reporter for Teen People
Note from Melissa Havard, Director of The Media Project:
I just returned from Advocates for Youth’s study tour to the Netherlands, Germany, and France, and I was amazed by what I learned. Television in those three countries is an integral part of nationwide efforts to educate people and promote healthy sexual behavior. In all three countries, teen pregnancy rates, rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and rates of abortion are significantly lower than in the United States. Moreover, teens, parents, and public officials believe in the critical importance of: 1) honest, open, and accurate education about sex and sexuality; 2) mass media messages to encourage the use of condoms and contraception by all sexually active people; and 3) free, unfettered access to contraception and sexual health care, especially for teens.
In these countries, television plays an important role in helping minimize unwanted sexual health outcomes. Television has an important to play in this country, too. Click on these resources for support in creating compelling storylines that will entertain and educate your viewers.
Related Resources from The Media Project
Additional Resources from Advocates for Youth (Pages will open in a new window.)
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