New website advises teens about sex
Tips for teenagers on dealing with the pressures of underage sex have gone online to help them make the right decision.
New website www.b4udecide.ie, launched by the Crisis Pregnancy Agency (CPA), claims to give the facts about sex and relationships without a lecture.
Caroline Spillane, CPA director, said young people are under immense pressure from peers, boyfriends, girlfriends and the media about sex.
"The aim is to give them the details to make their decision and the right decision," she added.
Research shows most young people in Ireland had sex for the first time at 17 years, with many who lost their virginity at a younger age saying they regretted it and should have waited longer.
Teenagers who have sex before the age of consent are also more likely to have a crisis pregnancy in their lives, have an abortion, have a sexually transmitted infection and be less likely to use contraception.
CPA said www.b4udecide.ie features facts, quizzes, polls and video interviews with young people and professionals on a range of topics. Information and support materials giving practical help to parents, youth workers and teachers are also available.
Actress Cliona Ni Chiosain, star of TG4's Aifric, officially launched the website which she said gives facts and information in a non judgmental way. "This will be a lifeline for so many people. With more websites like this peer pressure can be eliminated," she said.
The Agency aims to reduce the numbers of crisis pregnancies and offers counselling and support to women in need of help.
Former Taoiseach Dr Garret Fitzgerald, a supporter of the agency, said he hoped its merger with the Health Service Executive would not hamper its work in the future. "This is very badly needed and has been done very skilfully, very sensitively, very effective in a way which very few public organisations can do," he said.