Children unable to talk about sex with their parents now have one more source to turn to: their cell phones. New programs, like the aptly named “BrdsNBz,” are accepting sex questions via text message, and responding with accurate answers within a day’s time.
While texting may seem like a dubious source for sex ed, these services could be useful for teens who aren’t getting guidance elsewhere. More than half of the nation’s states don’t require public schools to teach sexual education, and many parents are ill equipped to handle the topic on their own.
BrdsNBz is available in New Mexico and North Carolina, and the New Mexico Department of Health is on board. The organization even set up a web page to help spread word about the service, explaining that this option can help youth learn the facts of life from professionals in a private setting.
According to the page, “The BrdsNBz Text Message Warm Line provides confidential, factually accurate answers to sexual health questions via text message. A young person simply texts a question, and a trained health educator responds within 24 hours.”
Indeed, sending a text question seems far less awkward than asking an authority figure in person — and the service could help kids learn to prevent pregnancies and sexually-transmitted diseases.
Teens can ask about slang sex terms, risky behaviors, common myths, where to access birth control and where to get tested for STDs. They can also ask more innocent questions, like “how to know if someone likes you” and “how to ask someone out.” The service also offers advice on how to handle abuse in a relationship.
BrdsNBz does instruct teens on how to perform sexual acts, and will not diagnose illnesses. And according to the web page, the service does not attempt to replace trusted adults, and will often advise youth to talk to their parents.