“Are they trying to give you information to make an informed decision yourself, or do they want to steer you in one direction or another? You want to depend on people who are all about giving you options.”
–Kennon Jackson on wading through the good, bad, and ugly of online sexual health information
We’re happy to recognize Kennon Jackson as ASHA’s Ambassador of the Month.
Kennon has been an ASHA Ambassador since the summer of 2016 and has worked as a health educator and evaluator for nearly 20 years. He feels that using social media and digital platforms is a necessary way to move ASHA’s mission forward: “Millennials and young adults are plugged into social media. On a daily basis, I try to post something they want to see with from an Ambassador #ISpeakSexHealth hashtag. This is a window for us to reach people we may otherwise overlook or miss.”
He believes that to meet people where they live, though, we have to think beyond Facebook and Twitter: “When I think about the lowest common denominator of communications these days, especially with young people, it’s text messaging. Apps and the like have their place, but eventually most run their course and are deleted or not used. Everyone sends texts, though, and this is true across gender, race, even age. It’s a fascinating change to our environment even compared to just ten years ago.”
When we’re interacting with the public on all these high-tech platforms, what should we be discussing? A priority for Kennon is educating about contraceptive options for women and advocating for policies that provide access to a full range of health care options. Also a focus on relationships, development, and sexuality: “In middle school I knew you were either straight or you were gay. Now we recognize an entire spectrum of sexuality that’s new to adolescents and young adults, but also to the educators who work with them. Gender identity, sexual orientation – so much has changed and that creates an opportunity for ASHA and the Ambassadors.”
The digitally connected world can be a blessing and a curse, with unprecedented access to sexual health information that may be good….or not. How to know the difference? Kennon’s first tip is to rely on your local public health department because “They are on the ground in the community and know their populations.” Also look for resources that have credentials and are working to empower users: “Are they trying to give you information to make an informed decision yourself, or do they want to steer you in one direction or another? You want to depend on people who are all about giving you options.”
ASHA Ambassadors are people who speak sexual health. A team of individuals leveraging the power of social media to get the word out about sex health, Ambassadors support our online conversations by tweeting, posting pics, sharing and ‘liking’ posts and all things social media. Learn more about the ASHA Ambassador program here.
Filed in: Sexual health