World Contraception Day: How digital media and tech is helping girls get sex smart

Sex is not always easy to talk about, especially if you’re an adolescent girl. It can come with stigma, shame and taboo - all of which can prevent girls seeking support. 


But girls must have access to information about their sexual health. It’s their right and it’s crucial for them to have control over their bodies. 


Reaching girls where they are


Conversations about sex can be easier for girls if they’re with someone approachable, understanding and honest. It also helps if girls can take them at their own pace, in safe spaces. 


This is where digital media and technology comes in. We use digital to meet girls where they are, on the platforms they use, with the information they need. 


Take Big Sis - our AI-powered chatbot created with girls’ input. Available on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, Big Sis provides girls with a private space to get trusted, non-judgemental advice about sex and relationships. So far, 44,000 girls have started chats with Big Sis and over 1 million messages have been sent, building girls’ knowledge and confidence around topics like contraception, sexually transmitted infections, negotiating relationships and HIV.

Big Sis

We’re expanding to TikTok too. Our research into TikTok’s audience showed that the platform is often considered an inclusive and non-judgemental space, making it the perfect place to talk about sexual health. In August, we launched an eight-week TikTok campaign through our mobile-first brand Springster, in Ghana, Mozambique and South Africa. It aims to increase girls’ knowledge and awareness of sexual and reproductive health and the services they can access, whilst also building their confidence to seek them out. 


Faces you know, voices you trust


Young female TikTok content creators and female doctors are the face of our TikTok campaign.


Two of these content creators are young South African twin sisters Lauren and Lara


With 1.1 million followers and 12 million likes on TikTok, the duo are no strangers to social media. They are fluent in girl-talk and that’s what makes them so approachable. 


The pair ask each other questions about sexual health that you can imagine go through the minds of many girls:


“You know what, I’d actually like to know how to take care of my sexual and reproductive health.”


“So what does looking after your sexual health actually mean, do you know?”


The insights, advice and recommendations the doctors give in response are authentic and sincere. This is important - content spreads fast on social media and left unchecked can be dangerous to girls’ health. But sharing safe, factual information from credible sources can help keep girls informed. 


Sexual health as self-care


Accessing information about sexual and reproductive health can be an act of self-care. Because when we arm girls with the facts, we empower them to make choices and changes in their lives. And that includes decisions about contraception. 


In a COVID-19 world, where 9.5 million women and girls face losing access to contraception and safe abortion services, it’s more important than ever that we reach girls where they are, to make sure they know how to prioritise their sexual health and wellbeing.