Keenan: App offers sex education in modern light

Joellen Keenan

University of Tennessee graduates hope to launch a new app, Hookup, this November, with the intended purpose to provide sexual education for today’s tech-savvy youth.

The app provides an anonymous platform for teens to ask questions and get answers from experts and volunteers.

It addition to Q&As, the app will provide informative games, how-to videos, information regarding the nearest clinics or health professionals, a “Share your Story” portion that allows users to read and share anonymous stories about different sexual experiences and the ability to compare knowledge with someone else.

The goal of this app is to reach out to teens who have questions and who are not finding the right answers through a Google search and hearsay that circulates among U.S. youth.

The app also provides sexual education in a fun, accessible way with instant answers to all questions.

Although the app is somewhat controversial when it comes to how much information is available to teens, it is one of the most innovative and effective ways for them to make educated decisions and protect themselves informatively.

Brianna Rader, who led the University of Tennessee students, was quoted on saying the “mobile app allows students to get all the information they need from their phones, which they are constantly on anyway.”

This is so true.

Teens and young adults are known for their obsession with technology — their phones are the driving force behind this stereotype.

Our generation has it’s nose in a cell phone at every turn, so why not start a sex-education revolution that will provide desperately needed answers for a generation deeply involved in other aspects of the sexual self. Because apps like Tinder and Grindr are gracing the screens on devices of students, educating them on how to have a safe sex life is crucial.

The disapproving individuals are generally the ones who believe the best sexual education provided is the kind where abstinence until marriage is the only option. They believe educating the public about sex will only lead to more problems and more sex.

This is not the first example of a closed-minded idea when it comes to sex. This same ideology is what prompted married women to be allowed to have birth control in the early 1900s while single women were not. The belief was that preventing them access to birth control would keep them from having sex.

This notion sounds completely backward today, and this generation is demonstrating how having abstinence as a way of preventing sex is just as illogical. 

study done at Columbia University shows that virginity pledge programs increase pledge-takers’ risk for STIs and pregnancy.

The study found that 88 percent of pledge takers initiated sex before marriage even though some delayed sex for a while. Rates of STIs among pledge-takers and non-pledgers were similar, even though pledge-takers later initiated sex. Pledge-takers were less likely to seek STI testing and less likely to use contraception when they did have sex.

This shows that when we avoid and push aside sexual education and replace it with an unrealistic idea that teens and young adults should forfeit sex, we are forcing kids to make uneducated and dangerous sexual decisions.

Telling young adults to not have sex until marriage is not what we should be doing.

We should be educating them and sending them out into the world with the knowledge necessary to be safe. Research has identified highly effective sex education that has long-term impacts, including lower STI and/or pregnancy rates.

Educated young adults are smarter young adults. It’s as simple as that.

Hookup has set out to provide fun and accurate sexual education. Teens and young adults these days use the Internet to seek out answers. This can lead to misinformation from faulty websites, and in turn, result in poor decisions.

It’s hard for me to wrap my head around why there is even a debate about this new app.

People deserve to know about sex and its dangers. They need to know about all the health risks it presents and how to have safe sex. They need a platform to ask their questions. They need to learn to be open and informed about sexual health.

Hookup provides all of this in a fun, accepting and convenient environment.