02/20/05 — Wayne Health Department provides Web site for teens

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Wayne Health Department provides Web site for teens

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on February 20, 2005 2:07 AM

Wayne County teens now have their own Web site, courtesy of the Health Department.

The computer site for and about Wayne County youths goes "live" today and can be found at the address www.WayneTeens.com

The Web site has been in the making for several months while subject matter was decided and then approved.

Carolyn King, health education supervisor, said a diverse group representing different factions of the community was enlisted to weigh in on the Web site and its content.

"Most thought it was a good Web site," she said. "The comments ranged from it being attractive and colorful to easy to maneuver through and very informative."

The comments were taken into consideration as the final changes were made and the Board of Health gave its approval at its meeting last week.

James Roosen, health director, said the project was a long time in the making.

"I don't think there's any other public health agency in North Carolina that is sharing this type of information," he said.

The whole idea was prompted by the desire to reach out to children and teens and give them information they might not otherwise have access to.

"Youth often go to the Internet instead of their parents for information," he said.

In addition to Mrs. King and Chris Cowan, technology specialist with the Health Depart-ment, the site's content was developed by health care professionals. The range of topics are things of interest and applicable to teens, Roosen said.

The site covers not only adolescent health issues, he said, but also subjects like tattooing and piercing, drugs, puberty and birth control.

"Abstinence is encouraged throughout our Web site," Mrs. King said. But from an education and health perspective, she said, the site delves into such areas as the real cost of having a baby, the importance of communicating with parents, etc.

There is also a "faith-based" section that lists other activities teen can participate in around the county.

Subjects addressed on the Web site will likely shift and change as time goes on and needs change. One that has already been brought up, Mrs. King said, is gang activity.

"We'll be researching that and adding it to the site," she said.

The Board of Health discussed the various ways the site could be marketed and publicized to its best advantage. It was felt to be a potential educational tool for the community and to families.

Dr. Terry Frazer of the board said it could be a "gift to the school system, teaching time well spent."

Roosen said it will also be an immediate way to get information out and to alert the public when necessary.