02/19/04 — HD Web Site for teens

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HD Web Site for teens

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 19, 2004 1:57 PM

The Board of Health said it supports a proposal to develop a Web site targeting teens in Wayne County.

At its meeting on Wednesday, Health Director James Roosen asked the board to consider using existing resources at the Health Department to create a site that would address issues faced by teens.

"What we hope to accomplish with this is some further outreach than we already do," he said. "This would be another resource that we could have at our disposal to reach kids."

He said that youth today are getting a very distorted view of reality from their peers and TV. The proposed Web site would be a powerful way to reach them since the Internet is so accessible and widely used, he said.

"This would be a real opportunity to get a message from public health officials," he said.

Roosen told the board that the Health Department could use the county server to support the site, but it would not officially be associated with Wayne County government. The separate site would make it easier to reach by teens.

He said the projected cost for having the site would be $50 a year.

Roosen said seven topics have been suggested at the outset. They would deal with self-image, tattooing and piercing, alcohol and drugs, abstinence and how teens can talk with their parents. The site would also offer sections for parents and a section with information for sexually active teens.

Roosen said he realizes that the concept may prove controversial in some circles, but feels it has tremendous potential. He also said that while parents sometimes express hesitation over how sex education is presented, research has shown that 90 percent of parents want the school system to provide it.

He said that schools have been providing the basic structure of sex education and disease prevention, but it's not always been done in a uniform manner. He defended the Health Department's approach to the subject.

"Part of our mission is prevention through education," he said. "Abstinence and smart choices are the things that we preach to all kids."

Board member Michael Gooden said the board supports the idea but asked Roosen to bring it back to the group for approval before the site is created.