There's an app for what?

Teen pregnancy is a social issue that we as parents hope to personally help combat as our children grow. An app from a national agency whose goal is to help prevent teen pregnancy claims to do so. But does it help or hurt?

Is bootylog
good for teens?

Many parents are horrified by the app and all it claims to do.

A new app called, of all things, BootyLog, markets itself as a digital black book where users can anonymously document sexual encounters, the types of birth control they used, and also allows them to rate their experiences as well as microblog about their hookups. This sounds like an app that is targeted toward adults, right? Not so fast. It turns out that this app is funded by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. So, it’s targeted toward… teens. What?

Jenna, mom of two, felt that the app was an extremely bad idea. “I'm horrified at this, both as a parent of two girls and as a 20-something-year-old woman,” she explained.

Straight from the horse's mouth

“By getting people to talk about sex — the good, the bad and the embarrassing — we think BootyLog will ultimately empower people to make healthier choices about sex and preventing unplanned pregnancies,” said Lawrence Swiader, senior director of Digital Media for The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “BootyLog shows that sex can be fun and responsible.”

Prevent teen pregnancy?

Many moms we spoke with were dumbfounded that the app is funded by an organization that has a goal of reducing teen pregnancy in the United States by one third between 2006 and 2015. Is an app called BootyLog a way to do it?

Rachael, pregnant with her third child, spoke from experience. “As I was a teen mother (to two children) I can confidently say, that app would not help me not get pregnant,” she shared. “Bragging about sexual encounters and reading others brag is more like[ly] to promote risky sex than prevent it. Stick to the old-fashioned way of actually keeping communication lines open with your children.”

Wrong message

The app name itself is not something that you’d like to see on your child’s phone. “The fact that it’s called BootyLog is enough to put me — and I hope, most, other parents — off,” said Rachael. And Emily from Canada, only half-joking, exclaimed, “If I found out my kid was using an app called ‘BootyLog’ I would be smashing heads. This is not the right way to go about teaching safe sex.”

Others thought that the app would be a way to capture information that could be used in the wrong way — for example, someone making a profile and scoping out stories from teens. “It seems like a pedophile's delight, or a sick, sick person getting their jollies off reading stories,” explained Amy, mom of two.

Overall, the parents we spoke with could not believe that an app like this was funded by an organization committed to preventing teen pregnancy, and most felt that it would have the total opposite effect. So, moms and dads, now you know what to look for if you check out your teen’s downloaded apps.

More on parenting teens

Sex facts: Clueless teens are getting pregnant
How to deal: Your teenage daughter is pregnant
Are we glamorizing teen moms?


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Comments on "Questionable BootyLog app targets teens"

Hope March 24, 2013 | 3:09 AM

"Fun and responsible" ? How is it responsible to make these young people think their only concern is pregnancy? This app encourages risky behavior and takes zero responsibility for the many STIs that will be contracted during their carefree encounters!

Jefe December 04, 2012 | 10:07 PM

Wow Maureen; So we shouldn't make anything that could ever traumatize adolescents online? Because they'll get to it, because their parents can't / won't learn about the internet? Are there problems with the implementation? sure! But the thing is, there are going to be problems with every approach. No magic bullets. Teaching abstinence is *good* Teaching condom use is *good* Teaching BC use is *good* Getting young people actually talking about in a 'productive' way is really important - and when problems crop up, just push the company to correct them. Don't just ban it arbitrarily One of the single most important conversations about was with one of my peers waaay back in college. It lasted all of 2 minutes, but it was important.

Maureen November 30, 2012 | 10:51 AM

Wow. I'm not sure what's more astonishing: this app's existence, or Mr. Swiader's assertions in the comment before mine. Mr. Swiader, I recommend you cease claiming this app helps people make healthier choices and admit its reproduction (pun intended) is what helps to line your pockets. In addition, no one born before yesterday buys the defense that iTunes or Google restrict sales to minors. Children have Facebook accounts these days because their parents either don't understand or don't consider the risks of online activity to children. The truth is, if you create it, children and teens will find a way to access it. So, either take that into account and create responsibly, or don't attempt to portray your product as increasing safe practices. Ms. Beyer, thanks for reporting on this troubling app.

Lawrence Swiader November 30, 2012 | 8:35 AM

As a parent, I too would be outraged if an app called BootyLog were designed and marketed to teens. So it is good to know that BootyLog was, in fact, not created for minors but for adults 18-29 and the app’s high maturity rating emphasizes the intended adult audience. In addition, the iTunes store makes it off-limits to those under 17 and the Google Play store offers controls to parents to block the app. All registered users of BootyLog reflect an 18+ audience. The teen pregnancy rate has plummeted over the past two decades while the unplanned pregnancy rate among young adults has remained unmoved. At present, fully 7 in 10 pregnancies among single women 18-29 are unplanned. Clearly, new initiatives and new approaches are needed. The edgy new BootyLog app is part of the Bedsider program (www.Bedsider), an online birth control support network for young women 18-29. By getting people to talk about --the good, the bad and the embarrassing--we think BootyLog will ultimately help people to make healthier choices about and preventing unplanned pregnancies. BootyLog shows that can be fun and responsible. It is a way to inject fun and into public health--because public health is rarely y--and a way to add a note of responsibility to because is rarely depicted as safe and responsible. Lawrence Swiader Senior Director, Digital Media The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

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