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Youth Volunteers Create "Adventures in Sex City" Health Promotion Tool
February 18, 2010 - A three-way partnership between mindyourmind, Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU), and a group of eight mindyourmind youth volunteers, aged 15 to 21, brought to life the creation of a sexual health promotion game that has taken the world by storm! The four Sex Squad Superheroes that set out to defeat the infected Sperminator in Sex City, with their knowledge of safe sex, have sparked the interest of newspapers, blogs, forums, gaming websites and social networking sites like Twitter, all over the world!The youth driven, youth created tool provides reliable information on STI’s in a format that Jessica, one youth participant, describes as “a funny approach that appeals to young people our age. Young people want facts about sex. But not from the boring materials we learned from in high school. We wanted to come up with something daring, exciting, and different, to ensure that good information would actually reach students”. The responses have been overwhelming and as with any controversial topic, like sex, perspectives vary from one end of the spectrum to the other. While some concerned critics see the game as inappropriate, others fully support the tool’s capacity to educate young people about healthy sexual choices. As one parent comments on the Globe & Mail about the game, “okay, my teens cracked up laughing at this... BUT they played through it and learned a few things along the way. Bravo”.Sexologist and PhD researcher, Jessica O’Reilly also responds to the game, stating that “As a sexual health educator, it is a tool I would recommend to clients (parents) and classroom teachers, as it is accessible, inter-active and fun. The site’s content not only reflects factual information (and corrects common misinformation), but acknowledges the personal and subjective components of making healthy sexual decisions, which youth identify as a core component of effective sexual health education.”O’Reilly continues, responding to others’ concerns with her own, that, “Though critics may take issue with the graphic nature of the game’s characters, this honest approach is absolutely necessary... The exclusion or glossing over of sexual activity in health education is not only confusing and ineffective, but stymies open communication about sex, which is a fundamental component of a healthy sex life and healthy relationships.”Shaya Dhinsa, Manager of Sexual Health at MLHU, identified “reaching teens and youth as a huge challenge” for them. They wanted this campaign to be different and far-reaching when they looked to a peer-to-peer approach with mindyourmind, an organization known for its effective youth engagement strategies. The comic book video game has definitely accomplished that, increasing the MLHU’s website traffic from 900 visits a day to 27,000!Congratulations to all of the youth participants, Stephanie (21), Max (17), Jessica (19), Jordan (21), Lyndsey (15), Francesca (19), Mitchell (15), and Darragh (17).For further information, please contact us.
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