Scarleteen, sex ed for the real world

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Submitted by Heather Corinna on Tue, 2009-11-10 19:02

(I know, George Michael jokes are probably lost on a lot of you, but I just couldn't help myself.)

We're excited to tell you that we've got a brand spankin' new way for you to get quick answers to your questions even when you're not near a computer. You can now text us! Hooray!

To ask Scarleteen a question via text, just text 66746 and start your question with the keyword ASKST.

We'll pick up the line as quickly as possible just like we do at the message boards to help you or your friends out fast. We can even go back and forth: if you have more questions after asking one (or we didn't answer you as well as you'd have liked), just respond with more and we can continue the conversation.

There is no additional fee for texting us: the cost is the same as whatever it costs you to text anyone else. Your privacy is also completely protected: we can't and won't ever see or get your name or your phone number. Our service will instead assign you a totally random user ID. Your answers will come from one of our staff or volunteers.

Response times may vary, but just like with the message boards many of our users will get answers within less than an hour of asking: some even within minutes. We know sometimes your questions are time-sensitive, so we'll do our best to answer them as fast as we can. Response time may be faster between the hours of 6AM and 11PM PST.

What can you use the new text service for?

  • Help you need when you're out looking for it and feeling lost, like with finding emergency contraception (or dealing with a pharmacist refusal), a sexual health clinic, a rape or abuse crisis center or hotline, help with any kind of harassment of bullying, even if you're just trying to find somewhere in your area to buy condoms. Seriously: we'd be happy to look up a map on our end and tell you how to get to a pharmacy or clinic as easily as possible if it's going to help you take care of yourself.
  • Having someone on the line during something scary or tough just so you can feel better. If you need us to be textable for you while you're sweating out those long three minutes on a pregnancy test or waiting for someone you trust to pick you up from a creepy party or date, we're around and glad to sit through it with you.
  • For helping out a friend. Many of our users come to Scarleteen to help others out. If you need help helping someone else, or finding a service for a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend or sibling, we can get you started, even if you're not at home.
  • Questions about the website and our organization in general, including if you're a parent or mentor.

Why have we added the ability to text in?

Because as you probably know, young folks use texting a whole heaping lot and it's always been our aim to make sex education and information as accessible as possible. Teens and young adults have enough on their plates already: we want to make getting the important sexuality, sexual health and relationship info and support you (or they, depending on who is reading this) need easy.

Like other services on Scarleteen, we also like that this is something that (save any usual texting charges) is free for our users and which protects and respects your privacy.

According to a 2008 Nielsen study, teenagers between the ages of 13 to 17 “text more than any other demographic group” clocking up an average of 1,742 texts a month. Approximately 79% of all teens have a mobile device – a 36% increase since 2005. CTIA-The Wireless Association® released research in 2008 on cell phone use by teens aged 13-19 in the United States. From 100 questions about cell phones, perceptions, and attitudes, some of the results included that: 57% agree or somewhat agree that the cell phone has improved their quality of life and 18% agree or somewhat agree that the cell phone has positively influenced their education. 35% have used their cell phone to reach out to someone in need. (We really like that one.) The younger the teen, the more likely they are to choose text messaging over talking on the phone. 28% of teens are browsing the web on their cell phones. 66% want cell phones to provide the freedom to get an education from any location on earth.

And we want to help them have just that freedom when it comes to the kinds of sexuality education we provide.

Once more with feeling, to ask Scarleteen a question via text, just text 66746 and start your question with the keyword ASKST. You can even put that number in your phone right this very second so that you have it if and when you or someone else needs it.

P.S. If you have a website that teens or young adults go to and you want to promote this service, feel free to copy the graphic above and use it for your site!


Since 1998, Scarleteen has provided sexuality education to millions of young people online. Since 2006 alone, Scarleteen.com has had over one billion hits and nearly 70 million page loads. Scarleteen created the model for online sex education and began on the internet to meet young people right where they were. It has since provided teens routes to get their questions answered via advice columns, a message board, a blog and numerous static articles and other tools online at Scarleteen.com.

Scarleteen.com is the highest ranking young adult sexuality education website online. We're an independent organization that provides accurate, comprehensive, inclusive and feminist sexuality information, education and support for young people internationally. Scarleteen has been lauded by such organizations as SIECUS, UNICEF, Planned Parenthood, The National Sexuality Resource Center, The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, Family Health International, the International Association for Adolescent Health and The Boston Women's Health Collective. Scarleteen is an LGBTQ-friendly, pro-choice and pro-youth organization.

For a permanent link to his new service, see: http://www.scarleteen.com/text_scarleteen.

For media queries, contact:
 Heather Corinna, Executive Director
text@scarleteen.com
1752 NW Market St. #627
Seattle, Washington
http://www.scarleteen.com

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Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.