#HEALTHYTEEN20 IS GOING VIRTUAL
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.
Back in 2019 (was that only last year?), knowing technology and sexuality have become so intertwined, we wanted to explore the theme of sexuality in this “connected age.”
Today (thanks, COVID-19), our theme is more relevant than ever. Just about everything is virtual for most of us these days. And we know that is making a difference for the youth we serve.
What can you expect from #HealthyTeen20?
No, we can’t gather in-person, but you’ll still get the chance to expand your skills and knowledge while also connecting with other professionals. Much has changed, but much will be the same, including a pre-conference institute, inspiring keynotes, a thought-provoking plenary, and of course, workshops, posters, and panel sessions.
From sexting, to dating apps, and watching porn, young people are connected to technology and digital media more than ever, and this connectivity is helping shape their virtual and physical relationships with others. For some educators it’s hard to imagine intimate relationships that started, matured, culminated, and ended all through the use of digital media. For others, it’s impossible not to think of digital media as a critical ingredient for meeting and connecting with potential partners.
We invite you to join us Monday, November 16 as Andrea Barrica, sextech entrepreneur and founder of O.school and the author of Sextech Revolution: the Future of Sexual Wellness, helps us step into the world of how technology will continue to shape how we experience sexuality and relationships, and how we can take advantage of the platform it provides to promote sexual wellness for all, but mostly for sexual minorities often left out of traditional sexual health messaging.
Piqued your interest? Join us for one of our #HealthyTeen20 featured conference sessions, What’s the Deal with Porn?, Wednesday, November 18. In this session, we’ll dive into the research we do have and what we know about young people and porn—why they watch it, how they feel about it, and more. You’ll be encouraged to reflect on how your values shape perceptions about adolescent porn use. We’ll wrap it up with concrete tips and opportunities to practice strategies to use a media literacy lens to have effective conversations with youth about porn.