New Research Article Calls for Overhaul of Youth Sexual Health Care in a Digital World - NAPNAP

New Research Article Calls for Overhaul of Youth Sexual Health Care in a Digital World

New Research Article Calls for Overhaul of Youth Sexual Health Care in a Digital World

NEW YORK, May 30, 2024 – As the digital age ushers in near unfettered access to pornography and sexual media by adolescents, it is time to re-envision youth sexual health care according to an article published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

Today, more than two-thirds of adolescents have been exposed – either intentionally or unintentionally – to pornography and sexually explicit content online and the average age of exposure is just 11 years old. Young people typically have not reached the level of intellect or emotional development to process the types of media and images they are exposed to, which can impact their sexual health throughout life.

Nurse practitioners have a unique opportunity to support adolescents and their parents or guardians by using a new approach to sexual health that considers healthy sexual relationships, consent, pornography literacy and safe sexting in an honest, positive, informative and nonjudgmental way.

“We, as health care providers, need to be willing to address difficult and typically taboo topics with youth, including pornography and sexting, so we can meet them where they are to help them and their parents safely and healthily navigate their sexuality and sexual development in a digital era,” so article co-author Elizabeth K. Kuzma, DNP, FNP-BC.

The article calls for positive sexual health education that prepares young people for healthy sexuality and sexual behaviors, including accurate and clear information about healthy relationships, communication, and gender roles, as well as full information about consent. Young people are often encouraged to abstain from sex and sexual exploration without sufficient sexual health education to make healthy, well-informed choices to navigate the challenges they will face when they become sexually active.

Nurse practitioners are in a unique position to help because they are skilled in providing holistic preventive care and have a great potential to complete quick screenings and also have ongoing comprehensive sexual health discussions with young people using a sex-positive lens during health care visits over time. They are adept at establishing trusting relationships with patients, which is essential in initiating open discussions on sensitive subjects, such as sex, with young people. Beyond the routine standard of care, nurse practitioners can act as a reliable influence for young people and their parents to share accurate, positive sexual health information and introduce topics to prevent adverse sexual health experiences in a digital world.

The article is published in the May/June edition of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioner’s Journal of Pediatric Health Care and can be accessed here.

Powered by

Website design and development by, Inc.