Social Media Usage and Sexual Health and Risk-Taking in Adolescents


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Many sexual health programs in schools focus on abstinence, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections. While these topics are important and need to be addressed during the period of adolescence, when students begin to be at higher risk for sexual practice, there is a lack of comprehensive sexual health programs that are evidence-based and unbiased by teacher views, as well as include the depth and diversity prevalent in today’s culture. Due to this, adolescents turn toward media and evolving technologies available to them to determine and understand their sexual relationships, communication, sexual identities, and more. However, the media and technology typically accessed is not always a reliable source. It may portray abusive relationships, unsafe sex practices, miscommunication, and other harmful situations that adolescents connect to, or feel that they should desire to connect to, that contribute to an overall riskier sexual education and experience. This paper aims to identify and analyze the impact of social media usage on adolescent sexual health practices and risk-taking, but may also identify the gaps of the current adolescent sexual health education programs in relation to media and technology developments, as well as more diverse topics. These findings could be used to determine the efficacy of including media- and technology-enhanced sexual health education programs in schools, higher education institutions, and community public health and learning centers in the future. This research will result in a better overall understanding of sexual habits and practices for adolescents and young adults with easy access to social media, will aid in identifying the reasoning and outcomes of adolescents in risky sexual situations within media, and may aid in developing plans for more comprehensive sexual health education, leading to healthier sexual outcomes in adolescents.



Sexual health, Adolescents, Social media, Risk-taking behaviors, Sex education