Social media will be the primary tool in a three-agency collaboration that will help formulate parenting strategies for teenagers and arrest the alarming rate of teenage pregnancies.
The Department of Health (DOH), Commission on Population and Development (PopCom), and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are spearheading the “Konektado Tayo” campaign to bridge the communication gap between Filipino parents and their adolescent children, particularly on issues concerning adolescent sexuality and development.
The campaign will mostly rely on the social media site Facebook to reach its target audience and help improve the quality of conversations about love, sexuality, and relationships.
“If Facebook is where our young citizens obtain information on almost anything and everything about the world around them, then we made certain through Konektado Tayo that they could get their initial information on sexuality through reliable sources, with proper guidance and contextualization, within the same platform,” PopCom chief Dr. Juan Antonio Perez III said during the virtual launch of the campaign on Thursday.
Perez shared USAID and PopCom have joined forces since February to develop the Konektado Tayo Facebook page.
To date, @KonektadoTayoPH1 has reached over 13 million people.
Most engagements are from the 35 to 54 age groups, the intended audience for the campaign.
PopCom said the campaign is guided by the three E’s: Encourage Filipino parents of teenagers to communicate with their children about topics on love, sexuality, and relationships; Equip adults with the knowledge and skills to feel confident about the information they will share with their children on relevant topics; and Enable parents to build their teens’ values and life skills which they will need as they transition to adulthood.
In the Philippine Statistics Authority’s latest Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality study, only 10 percent of Filipino youth reported discussing sexuality in their homes, and that young people are likely to consult their peers for questions about the subject.
Perez said parents are expected to be the primary sources of information about love, relationships, and sexuality-related issues.
However, they are usually uncomfortable and not equipped to discuss the topics with their adolescent children, as a culture of shame and embarrassment in such conversations discourages open and effective communication, he added.
“With various concerns being faced by our youth today such as teenage pregnancy and lack of education, we believe that Konektado Tayo will be instrumental in teaching our children to develop a healthy self-image, empowering them to think critically, and enabling them to make wise decisions, while strengthening their capacity to do what is right,” he added.
The DOH said parents play a critical role as main educators in making their children realize and achieve their full potential, so that they can complete their education and create opportunities for a better future.
Connections among young people, the people who matter the most to them, and those they can trust, such as their parents and mentors, are crucial.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III lauded the participation of the stakeholders in reaching out to the parents and teenagers.
“Let us all commit to support our adolescents by providing avenues and platforms for them to freely share their thoughts about their sexuality, sexual and reproductive health needs, and concerns they may have as they go through this crucial period in their lives,” he said. (PNA)