When you’re a pre-teen or teenager, learning about sex is awkward. Experiencing changes in your body—from growing hair in strange places to juggling hormonal mood swings—is awkward. Developing feelings for someone for the first time is awkward. Deciding what to do with those feelings is awkward. Talking about any of these things is awkward.
Part of the reason for this is that we’re kind-of conditioned to feel uncomfortable and embarrassed around these topics. They’re not recess conversations. Or lunch table conversations. Or dinner table conversations. During those formative years, kids often only get information about these topics through sex education workshops.
So, when they have questions, where are they supposed to turn? Parents can be an option, but those convos can be weird on both ends. Peers can be an option, but no one wants to be the first to admit they’re feeling abnormal. Doctors can be an option, but they might not be as accessible for someone who can’t drive or book their own appointments.
Organizations like Answer and Planned Parenthood are taking big strides to normalize conversations about sex. Planned Parenthood has just launched a resource for adolescents and teens to have those conversations without the shame, embarrassment, or accessibility issues as other options.
That resource is Roo, a chatbot that makes getting information about sex and wellness as easy as texting a friend. It’s free, private, and backed by professional health educators from Planned Parenthood. To use it, visit roo.plannedparenthood.org on your smartphone, and hit “CHAT NOW”.
Roo is the first tool of its kind, designed to help young people visiting get personalized information instantly—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was developed for teens ages 13 to 17 but can be used by anyone who has questions about sexual or reproductive health.
“As a physician, I know the importance of meeting people where they are with the information and care they need,” said Dr. Leana Wen, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, in their recent press release. “At Planned Parenthood, we want to make it as easy as possible to get everyone the education and health care they need, when they need it, no matter what method of communication works best for them. Developed together with teens, our new one-of-a-kind chatbot is another way Planned Parenthood is expanding ways of delivering personalized, immediate, and accurate information to young people. No matter where you are, Planned Parenthood is here to provide you with evidence-based, judgement-free information.”
See it in Action
You can type in your own question or choose from some of the most frequently asked ones, which are all based on real questions that teens are actually asking. Just seeing that someone else has asked what you’re asking can be a huge comfort. And, since you’re talking to a bot, you don’t have to worry about being judged or gossiped about. Your conversations are safe and private.