#HealthyTeen20 Is Going Virtual
Like many of you, over the last few months we have been monitoring worldwide developments related to COVID-19. Our staff has worked hard planning this year’s conference, and now, more than ever, this year’s theme on sexuality in the connected age is relevant to our work with adolescents.
We also recognize that during this unprecedented time, our theme represents a very clear need to understand how our field is reaching those we serve and how teens are using technology to connect to the world around them.
Due to the continued spread of COVID-19, travel restrictions, and uncertainty of what the future will hold, we have made the difficult decision that this year’s conference a virtual event; there will be no on-site activities in Portland, unfortunately. The health and safety of our attendees and staff are of the utmost importance to us.
We are in the initial stages of planning a virtual event in November. Every year, since we were founded in 1979, we have held a conference, and this year will be no different. But it will be the first-ever virtual Healthy Teen Network conference. We are still mapping out exactly what a virtual conference will look like, and how we can create different kinds of opportunities for learning, sharing, and connecting.
What we do know for sure is that there will indeed be a Healthy Teen Network conference, November 16-18. Exact times and sessions are still to be determined. We will let you know more information as soon as possible.
Thank you for your understanding and continued support. We look forward to seeing you online in November!
NOVEMBER 16-18, 2020
With dating apps, sexting, user-generated media, sex toys powered by artificial intelligence, viral memes, pornography, virtual reality, and so much more, technology is baked into sexuality itself…and vice versa.
We cannot disconnect sexuality and technology because we live in an era of ubiquitous smartphone access that makes information and services more accessible, more connected. With just a tap of the screen, we can switch platforms, express a different identity, swipe to discard or confirm a potential sexual rendezvous, and join a new community. Just as we do in non-virtual spaces, we filter what we choose to share (if we share) and create the content and identity that fits the space.
With this space to flex our identities and access information, social norms are also expanding. Technology is changing our beliefs and our behaviors, and that includes our beliefs about sexuality and our sexual behaviors. So much of our life happens online—hook-ups (relationships) start online, conversations about consent start with emojis, and break-ups happen via text—which means we’re also susceptible to ghosting, phishing, catfishing, hacking, and more.
What does this mean for adolescents and young adults? What does this mean for how we do our work? How do we equip young people to develop healthy sexualities and have pleasurable sexual lives in the connected age? How do we support and empower young people to navigate sex, sexuality, and relationships online?
We’ll explore these questions and more at the 41st annual Healthy Teen Network conference. As professionals, we cannot only react to technology’s connection to young people’s sexuality; we must be proactive in leveraging technology to meet the sexual health needs relevant in real life. Join us online, November 16-18, 2020 for Un/Filtered: Sexuality in the Connected Age.