Teen Aware: Sex, Media & You is based on an extensive video-based curriculum resource guide by the same name that was first developed by University of Washington's Teen Futures Media Network in 1994 for Washington State's Teen Aware Project.
This web site produced by Teen Futures Media Network, College of Education, University of Washington is made possible with sponsorship of Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction with funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
For more information about Teen Futures Media Network see:
Teen Aware Project Overview
In 1994, the Teen Aware Project was a new endeavor that had only recently received funding by the Washington State legislature. Supervised and administered by Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, the purpose of the project was to support and promote the development of teen-generated media campaigns focused on the subject of abstinence education. Schools and school consortiums throughout the state could apply and, if successful, receive grant funding to support middle and high school age youth in the development and production of their own abstinence-focused media campaigns.
These teen-generated media campaigns attracted considerable attention from both the youth themselves as well as adult community members. Youth captured the attention of their peers with their youth-generated messages. Further, adult community members were often surprised to see how creative and clever the youth had been in designing their campaign materials.
Over the first four years of the Project, youth were regularly surveyed at both the beginning and end of their involvement in the Project, as well as asked to participate in focus groups and exit interviews examining their experiences and what they had gained from their Teen Aware experience. Youth very consistently reported that they had learned much more about abstinence and STDs/HIV than they had ever expected when they first entered the Project.
Youth also very regularly reported really reflecting on the meaning of their own sexuality and issues of abstinence in their personal lives as they attempted to develop their media messages. Several mentioned ways in which they had changed their behavior after participating in the project. For example, some reported speaking to a girl/boyfriend differently; others reported that they now valued abstinence for themselves or were surprised to learn that they were not actually alone in their thinking that abstinence was important. One boy even reported that after participating in the Project, he had decided that he could, in fact, talk to his dad about sex. He had never thought he could do this. Still others reported that before their participation in the Project they had been sexually active and had thought that once you had started, you could never be abstinent again. These are only a very small sampling of the many positive outcomes that teens reported.
One significant point to note was that very few of the youth participants reported being most impacted by the media experience. Although the media truly engaged their attention on information about sexuality that they had professed to know very well at the outset of the Project, by the end it was not the media experience that most youth ended up discussing when they were asked how the project had impacted them personally. Most had discovered that while media appear to be fun at first glance, in actual fact, media production requires a lot of very hard work!
This Web Site
Teen Futures Media Network, a project that promotes and supports media literacy education and teen-generated media work, has been involved in the Teen Aware Project and abstinence education for many years. Through this involvement, Teen Futures has amassed a large collection of resources, ideas, lesson plans and activities focused on media literacy and abstinence education. These resources in combination with those vast resources developed and compiled by the Teen Aware Project administration and teachers constitute a sizeable archive.
Teen Futures Media Network is delighted to have this opportunity with sponsorship of the Office of the Superintendent and funding from the CDC to present this web site as a resource for all those who are interested in exploring the use of the Teen Aware process with those youth with whom they are working.
Teen Futures wishes to underscore that the web site addresses the Teen Aware Process as the critical feature of this approach to abstinence education. While the media product is what drives the effort, it is the process of getting there that is all-important. While youth can and do produce a number of highly engaging products, only a few youth may finally produce that high quality product that would ultimately selected for a mass media campaign. Yet all participants learn from the journey. It is the journey that is everything!