The secret to reaching teens about sex (or anything else)

Sex ed by text message. Of course it happened first in San Francisco, where they’re serious about getting sex education messages out, in any medium possible.

The moral of this story is: Want to talk to your teenager? Do it in the medium she or he uses most. For many teenagers that’s text message.

But maybe it’s not text message. Maybe it’s the cell phone, or Internet-based chat, or e-mail.

Or maybe the medium isn’t as important to your teenager as the primary content of the conversation. In that case, talk about whatever interests your teenager – movies, video games, books, horses, football, anime, whatever!

The point is that in order to reach and effectively interact with your teen on any subject, you have to do it on his or her turf. Trust me.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. Texting as an education tool seems a bit goofy, but if the point is communication, and if it’s working, then I guess run with it.

    Does this mean I have to finally learn to type with my thumbs?

  2. Thanks for this post, Dr. Rayne, it’s helpful to remember that parents can reach teens through these new communication technologies rather than feel alienated and further separated by them!

    On RH Reality Check we currently have a great feature story on this very subject — the use of new media, specifically texting, in sexual health promotion and, basically, giving teens information they need in the communication format they use. You or your readers might want to check it out:

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