Talking to kids about sex

By HSC Staff Writer • Published: July 19th, 2006
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Talk to your kids about sex. Everyone else is.

You may have heard or seen this message recently on radio, T-V or billboards. Well, guess what: The message appears to be sinking in.

It’s too early to tell if fewer kids are indulging in risky sexual behavior as a result of the media campaign, which reminded parents to talk with their children about sex. But a recent survey suggests the campaign did influence many parents to have that important conversation with their teen-aged and pre-adolescent kids.

You know: the talk.

Wake Forest University researchers studied the impact of the media campaign in more than twenty counties with the highest teen pregnancy rates in their North Carolina home state. The results appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.

The scientists surveyed more than eleven-hundred parents of adolescents in the three major television markets in the state. The results showed that the more the parents saw or heard the P-S-As, the more likely they were to talk with their children about sexual issues.

Parents are often concerned about how schools teach sex education and the messages their children are exposed to on television and the Internet. But when parents convey their own values, attitudes and beliefs about sexual activity, birth control and pregnancy to their children, the researchers say a heart-to-heart chat can have a positive effect on their children’s behaviors.

To encourage smart sexual behavior, parents can’t just walk the walk. You have to talk the talk.