• beenthere72

    I can’t believe I actually understood everything she wrote.   But I’m worried she won’t read everything YOU wrote.   If a teen can’t take the time to actually spell out her words, she doesn’t have the attention span to read more than a paragraph or two.   I speak from the experience of having a similar teen at home.   The only thing she pays attention to is Facebook.    You might as well respond in Tweet sized sentences.  


    And WHAT?   Mom is encouraging this????   ::sigh::   She better get that teen on birth control.  Stat!

  • heather-corinna

    I have to unpack this very often for adults who don’t teach adolescents — parenting isn’t the same as teaching — particularly in this subject, but also in any area where their learning/reading is 100% elective, but I’ll go ahead and do it again here.


    Scarleteen has an incredible amount of traffic for a small, independent organization, mostly made up of users aged 15-25.  We’re the highest trafficked teen/young adult sex education site inline, and have almost always been so in the 12 years we have been around, We have never advertised, run PSAs or anything like that, users tend to find us via Google or from friends, family members, healthcare providers or other educators: how useful young people find us has made itself very clear.  We also can track reads from registered users, which involves being able to see the amount of time they’ll spend on a page, and that’s something I’ve looked at with these answers as one way of guaging if they work, and the amount of time the querant seems to spend reading usually seems like the general amount of time it’s take to read what’s written.  We don’t have a high bounce rate at the site, but do have a high rate of pages read per user (several times more than Facebook users page-read rate, actually).


    Our users also tend to be interactive, so when they don’t understand something, or we give information they just can’t grok, they tend to ask us for clarity because they know they can.


    We really don’t get asked for that very often.  And from all we can tell, particularly given that we tend to be more in-depth than other sites yet have more young people coming to us and using us, our style of responding to them works for them very well.  This isn’t surprising to me as an educator (and not just a sex educator: I’ve been teaching a range of age groups now for around 20 years), and usually isn’t to other people who work with adolescents, because we know things like that they are often voracious readers, particularly when something is specifically about them or about something they are very interested in and without a lot of information about. My partner always likes to point out that this “kids or teens can’t read more than tiny pieces of things!” stuff was said about the Harry Potter books a lot, which we know full well DROVES of them read.  The Twilight books are also quite long and in-depth.


    How they write also does not often give us information on how they read. While there certainly tends to be some interrelatedness between those things, those skills can sometimes be radically different, since they are different skills.


    And of that may or may not be the case with your teen at home, and the way we do things certainly isn’t the right fit — on various levels — for every teen. At the same time, I find it’s fairly common for adults to generalize about teens abilities and learning in ways that I have not found, as an educator working in the modalities that I do, and with the diversity of young pepple that I do, to often hold water.


    But I’m not concerned this teen did not read what was written in direct response to her questions.  One of the things we hear most from young people in response to how we work with them is that they are delighted for once to have something more than a bullet-point list — especially about issues that are so complex! — or to feel talked down to.

  • beenthere72

    Thank you for filling me in.     I have the utmost respect for what you do.   I had never heard of Scarleteen before I discovered this website.   Sounds like an awesome organization.     I’ll have to check it out over the weekend (my work blocks it!) and tell the teen at home about it as well.    Thinking back on my teens, I asked a lot of very stupid questions about sex in health class (as anonymous notes).   It would’ve been a whole different world to have access to the resources the internet provides.



  • ldan

    for taking the time to spell that out.


    I admit that I’ve often wondered if teens read through the long responses that I admit to mostly skimming as I check the site during a break at work. It’s a useful wake up to how I often think of teens operating.

  • sweetchild92

    I feel like anytime there’s a worry about whether or not you’ll be “good in bed” it’s a signal to either slow down or re-evaluate how one thinks about sex. It won’t be the great experience it can be if you’re trying to put on a performance. 

  • heather-corinna

    @L-dan @beenthere72: Sure thing.  And I’m always glad to talk/discuss alternative educational philosophies anytime. :)

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