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Mobile phone, social media usage, and perceptions of delivering a social media safer sex intervention for adolescents: results from two countries

Authors Cornelius JB, Whitaker-Brown C, Neely T, Kennedy A, Okoro F

Received 20 October 2018

Accepted for publication 9 February 2019

Published 28 March 2019 Volume 2019:10 Pages 29—37


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Alastair Sutcliffe

Judith B Cornelius,1 Charlene Whitaker-Brown,1 Tamara Neely,2 Anna Kennedy,1 Florence Okoro1

1Department School of Nursing, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA; 2Director of Personal Care Services, Homecare Carolinas at Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA

Purpose: Rates of sexually transmitted infections among adolescents remain high in the United States and Botswana. Mobile phone density rates in Botswana exceed those of the United States. Yet, in both countries, safer sex information continues to be delivered primarily via face-to-face curricula such as Becoming a Responsible Teen and Living as a Safe Teen. While social media shows promise as a medium for delivering risk-reduction information to youth, few studies have been conducted in either country to assess its effectiveness. This study examines adolescents in both countries, their mobile phone and social media usage, and their perceptions of safer sex interventions delivered via social media.
Design and methods: Three focus groups were conducted with 28 adolescents 13–18 years of age who lived in the United States (n=14) and Botswana (n=14). Data analysis was ongoing, which informed the data collection process. After the first group, no additional revisions were made to the focus group protocol. An abridged method of analyzing the data was employed.
Results: Adolescents in all groups discussed peer pressure and connectedness with mobile phones and social media and had general knowledge of STIs and HIV. The adolescents agreed that adaptation of risk reduction interventions for mobile phone and social media delivery was warranted, and they shared ideas for adaptation.
Practice implications: Our findings provide a starting point for researchers interested in developing a social media intervention with global implications for sexual health promotion.

Keywords: mobile phones, social media, adolescents, Botswana, United States

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