A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this nicely done educational site is sponsored by the nonprofit organization National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The nonpartisan, secular advice is sensible and straightforward. To help spread the message that abstinence is cool, the site features videos for teens made by teens enjoying their high school years without the complications of young parenthood. Just beware that a few young visitors have used the site to leave glowing comments about teen motherhood and post photos of themselves with their babies.
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- Kids say
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What's it about?
Stay Teen provides kids with articles, videos, polls, and games. Kids can also leave comments and questions in several places (anonymously, if they choose). Articles about teen pregnancy, relationships, birth control, sexually transmitted illnesses, and more are in the “Stay Informed” section. “Features” and “Stay Tuned” cover a few related current events and TV shows about teen life and pregnancy. In the “Videos” section, teens and stars from popular shows like 16 and Pregnant encourage kids to “Stay teen.”
Is it any good?
With its hip black-and-white Obamaesque design and fresh voice, Stay Teen is able to teach valuable lessons about teen pregnancy without coming off as stodgy or didactic. The teen-friendly, expertly written content covers everything from dating violence to contraception while providing light-hearted moments in the form of teen-created videos celebrating life, all under the umbrella of sexual responsibility. Not an easy thing to do but this site pulls it off nicely.
Online interaction: This site is primarily an educational tool, not a place for kids to network. Teens can upload and leave comments about videos, and they can "friend" the site in order to get updates at MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and Think MTV. The Youth Online Network mailing list announces contests and sends notifications when TV shows or magazines cover teen pregnancy. However, there are no chat, message board, or email tools. Comments on the site so far are sparse, and most of these are long, off-topic posts from girls either dealing with pregnancy scares or expressing satisfaction with being a teen mother.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can use this site as a springboard to open up the lines of communication. Do teens feel comfortable asking about sex and relationships? If not, why not? How can parents make it easier to talk about these important topics so kids make wise choices? (Read our advice in Talking to Kids About Premarital Sex.)
Discuss whether, as some teens on this site claim, there are any positive aspects to becoming a teen parent. How do the negative parts outweigh the positive? How can teens respect others' choices without making the same mistakes?