Travis County Teens Don't Talk Enough About Safe Sex, Report Says
Teens in Travis County say they’re not getting taught about safe sex, and parents say they don’t know how to talk to their kids about it, according to a new report from the University of Texas and the Healthy Youth Partnership. [Read a PDF version of the report here.]
Travis County, and Texas as a whole, have higher teen birth rates than the country overall, which the new report attributes to teens receiving misinformation about birth control, an embarrassment associated with buying condoms and peer pressure surrounding sex.
While that might not be surprising, Monica Faulkner, the associate director of the Child and Family Research Institute at the University of Texas at Austin says in low-income school districts, teens also said that getting pregnant helps them get attention."They see teen pregnancy as a way to grow up and a way to become adults in these lower socio-economic schools," she said.
At wealthier schools, teens said they’re taught to prioritize college.
Faulkner says the message is not that sex ed is only the responsibility of schools, but that parents and other adults in the community need to learn how to talk about sex ed, and to start discussions really early on.
"Parents said, 'Yes, we know that we need to talk to kids about this, but we don't know what we're supposed to say.'" Faulkner said about what they heard from them in their research. "So a lot of the times the message is, 'Just don't do that.' And then teens are saying, 'We already know about this. We're either already having sex or we know people who are, and we need adults to talk to.'"