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February 20, 2017

Sex education via an app for the young

The definition of a teen mom in the Netherlands is someone with a child younger than 20 years of age. The Netherlands has got one of the lowest rates when it comes to teen pregnancies in Europe. In January of 2016 the number of teens with a child was 2214. Comparing it to the rest of Europe, only Switzerland and Denmark have a lower rate.

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A probable reason for this is that in the Netherlands sex education starts at a very young age, often already during primary school. A lot of attention in this type of education get topics like defensibility, relationships and birth control. It is something to be proud of, but not a reason to sit back and relax, must have been the thought of Municipal Health of the region Twente, in the east of the Netherlands.

They have decided to take sex education into the digital world and they introduced an app, containing a game that goes by the name “Ovum seeking sperm”. The game is about getting pregnant in a healthy way and can be downloaded on a smartphone, according to the Dutch NZG website.  

Find the Ovum

When you play the game, you’re a sperm cell looking for an ovum, that needs to be impregnated. But beware of the many obstacles, such as smoking. During your trip to the ovum, you also receive tools such as folic Acid, to reach the ovum. This game introduces young people with pregnancy, the dangers and everything that has to do with getting pregnant in a playful manor.

“The last couple of years we’ve noticed that especially the young are more difficult to reach with the traditional media. They don’t read folders and do not visit specialized websites.”, so says
Marieke Bunnik of the Municipal Health of the Dutch region Twente. This motivated them to search for other ways to reach the youth. It had to be via a game for smartphone and tablet, they concluded.

Although the development of a game is much more expensive than the printing of a folder, all the fourteen communities of Twente saw the added value of a game and each contributed financially. It’s am matter of social importance. Unfortunately, women only start educating themselves about pregnancies, when they’re already pregnant and not before, which in fact is to late according to Bunnik.
 
“A healthy pregnancy starts weeks before the impregnation: then you already need to take folic Acid and quit smoking and consuming alcohol. It’s quite difficult to get that message at your target audience in time.” The app can be downloaded in the Google Playstore and Apple App Store.

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