If the two things every 21st Century adolescent has are cell phones and questions about sex, it only makes sense to combine them. That is the thought behind The Birds and Bees Text Line, a project of the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Campaign of North Carolina. Since February, curious teens across that state--which requires schools to teach an abstinence-only curriculum, yet has a high teenage pregnancy rate--have been able to send their questions anonymously, via text message, and receive a non-judgmental reply within 24 hours. The questions cover the gamut, from serious health-related inquiries to unraveling the mysteries of dating.
The program, based on a similar service in Alexandria, VA, has some guidelines for its volunteer responders: "No medical advice--urge questioners to speak with a doctor. Do not advocate abortion. When necessary, refer questioners to local clinics, websites or emergency hot lines. Give reasoned, kind advice. Read answers twice before sending. No sarcasm," reports the New York Times.
To learn more about the North Carolina program:
- read this New York Times story