BrdsNBz service lets teens text sex questions to a hotline

New Mexico joins North Carolina in offering up a free texting service where health experts respond to sex-related questions within 24 hours.

The free service is available in English and Spanish. BrdsNBz

Oh, the birds and the bees. Not so long ago parents and kids alike would typically dread having "the talk" in all its analog, face-to-face glory. And while search engines have taken a load off in recent years, kids can get a lot of bad information -- or just run into a lot of porn -- if they ask their sex-related questions online.

So New Mexico has decided to join North Carolina in launching a free texting service called BrdsNBz that targets teens and their parents. The service promises that, within 24 hours of someone texting a sexual health question, a health expert will text back a private and nonjudgmental response.

The service is available in both Spanish and English in the state that ranks third in teen birth rates. (On a related note, teen childbearing in the U.S. cost taxpayers at least $10.9 billion in 2008 alone, according to an analysis by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.)

"I have an 11-year-old," Valerie Fisher of New Mexico's health department told CNN. "I try to explain things to him, and he's like, 'Mommmm, stop!' so I understand. This is a great tool. It educates teens, they learn some things maybe they didn't know, and it even helps them ask their parents better questions."

California boasts a similar program called HookUp 365247 that gives teens weekly sex ed health tips and details on nearby reproductive health clinics.

The BrdsNBz program is designed to answer a wide array of questions, from anatomical questions and risks of certain activities to what slang terms mean and how to access birth control or STD tests. It also outlines a few "limitations." Health experts will not diagnose medical issues (i.e. pregnancy, STDs) or provide information on sexual technique: "Example: We will answer What is a blow job? We will not answer How do I give a blow job?"

For that, of course, there is always the aforementioned search engine.

 

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