Study: Teens distrust online sex info

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A new study from the Guttmacher Institute (which researches sexual and reproductive health) reports that contrary to what you might expect, teenagers aren't looking to the internet for information on sex. The institute surveyed fifty-eight high-school students from New York and Indiana; most reported skepticism about the reliability of information online. CNN quotes study author Rachel K. Jones:

"[They had] this heightened awareness that anyone can make a website and put information out there… After we listened to what they had to say, it made sense."

I suppose growing up with the internet could make you pretty skeptical; probably very few teenagers are wiring money to Nigeria these days, too. Jones' conclusion is that efforts to make sex-ed info available online will have to be coupled with offline outreach to be effective. Unfortunately, "offline outreach" to teenagers is a pretty vexed question, at least in this country. If teenagers aren't getting their information online, they're certainly not getting it from the abstinence-only programs that still constitute sex ed at 34% of U.S. public schools, which means they're probably stuck with hearsay. Which is bad.