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A few weeks ago, we posted on social media to find out what questions you have about sexual health education, community resources for sexual health and well-being, talking with and supporting young people in your life, tips and tools for parents and caregivers, birth control, sexually transmitted infections, healthy relationships, consent, puberty, adolescent development, and more! Now we’re back with the answers you need.

Did you miss this #AskAmplify series? Don’t worry – we’re always available! Send us an email or connect with us on social media to talk with our team of adolescent sexual health experts. We’ll also be back with more #AskAmplify posts in the future, so be sure to follow our social media accounts!

Q: How can I educate my teen on the dangers of sexting?

A: This is an excellent question, and it’s a common concern we hear from parents. First things first: we should probably talk about what “sexting” is. Sexting is sending nude or explicit images of self or others and/or explicit text messages over the phone, an app, or the internet. Teens may engage in sexting because it feels intimate, and sharing intimate details is one way we build close relationships, which is part of the developmental work of adolescence.

Sexting is often part of a larger issue that we call digital literacy, which is the ability to find, evaluate, utilize, share, and create content using information technologies and the internet. Young people today use the internet + social media unlike any previous generation, and it’s important for parents and families to talk with young people about the importance of good digital citizenship and the severity of the potential consequences of bad decisions made online. So where should you start?

One key message to share with your child around sexting specifically is that images have a life of their own. Information is far less secure and more accessible in the current digital environment than ever before. For instance, your child may trust their boyfriend with a photo, but he, in turn, might trust a close friend who may think it would be fun to share them. Images may end up in the hands of many other children or even adults.

Remind your child that they care about how the world sees them. Sexting can take away your child’s control over their privacy, and once an image has been distributed, it is impossible to take it back. Encourage your child to refrain from sexting to ensure they remain in control of their dignity and privacy. Also, sexting could result in a criminal record, and someone underage can be charged with distributing child pornography, even if they are disseminating a photo of themselves. So can anyone who shares the pictures with someone else. Remind your children they may face serious consequences. It has happened to other kids.

Finally, encourage them to think before they act. Sexting is one of those things that, done casually, can have very painful consequences. It’s far too easy for kids to assume that private online communication stays private. But teens need to know that any private exchange of words or photos can also be shared with the whole school, not to mention the rest of the world. If you’re looking for more information on digital literacy, like how to protect your child from accessing unsafe content online or becoming a victim of cyberbullying, head over to the parent and trusted adult resources page on our website.

Q: Is there somewhere that I can get free STI testing if I’m 19 without insurance?

A: We’re so glad you asked! Getting tested is important for your sexual health and although it can feel intimidating, it’s usually a quick, painless, and sometimes even a free process. Clinics in Tulsa are providing confidential and many times free services to youth. Our partners at H.O.P.E. Testing, Tulsa Health Department, and Community Health Connection make it super easy to get tested and treated if needed for both teens and adults.

In Tulsa, we have 5 partner clinics around town which offer free or reduced cost confidential health services to youth 19 and under. No one is turned away for inability to pay. H.O.P.E. Testing also provides free and low-cost testing options and can provide confidential STI testing and treatment to young people 12 and up. Free testing depends upon supplies they have available, so be sure to check when you book your appointment.

Take H.O.P.E.’s testing quiz to learn more about when and how often to be tested for specific STIs.

Are you ready to book your appointment?

H.O.P.E. Testing (918) 749-8378

H.O.P.E. Testing Clinic

3354 E. 51st St.
Tulsa, OK 74135

Monday – Thursday: 9am – 5pm (appointment only)

Tulsa Health Department (918) 582-9355

1. North Regional Health Center

5635 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74126

Monday – Thursday: 8am – 4pm
Friday: 8am – 3pm

2. James Goodwin Health Center

5051 South 129th East Avenue
Tulsa, OK 74134

Monday – Thursday: 8am – 4pm
Friday: 8am – 3pm

3. Central Regional Health Center

315 South Utica
Tulsa, OK 74104

Monday – Thursday: 8am – 4pm
Friday: 8am – 3pm

Community Health Connection (918) 622-0641

1. Kendall-Whittier

2321 East 3rd Street
Tulsa, OK 74104-3327

Thursdays: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

2. Ellen Ochoa

12020 East 31st Street
Tulsa, OK 74146

Tuesdays: 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm

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