Sex poll by cellphone a hit

2011-06-10 00:00

THE very first sex survey using a mobile platform as a medium has proved to be a big hit with youngsters around the country, drawing over 138 000 frank responses.

The YoungAfricaLive Youth Sex Survey was based on polls run since last December.

The 138 954 participants, 51% of whom are between the ages of 16 and 24, and 35% of whom are aged 24 to 35, are all YoungAfricaLive users.

YoungAfricaLive is a free, interactive cellphone network available only to Vodacom subscribers.

It was developed by the Praekelt Foundation as a portal for youngsters to engage with and educate each other on issues relating to sex, love and relationships.

One of the more shocking revelations of the poll is that many young people support the theory that women are to blame for the high incidence of rape.

Twenty-three percent of respondents believe that one in four South African men rape because too many women wear revealing clothes. Four in every 10 of the respondents hold the belief that schoolgirls contribute to their sexual exploitation by their teachers — what they see as a “two-way street”.

Only 35% believe that a relationship between teacher and pupil is the result of an abuse of power.

Tamsen de Beer, content editor of YoungAfricaLive, said South Africans are bombarded by what Western youth have to say about sex, and it was time the country gains an insight into the thoughts and feelings that motivate African youths to behave in a way that leads to the statistical findings.

Gustav Praekelt, the founder of the organisation, said the fact that YoungAfricaLive has grown to 36 000 users since its inception in December 2009 is proof of the need for such markets.

“The power of this platform of youth-to-youth interaction is that it is the peers who start to point users in the direction of the right message and stepping in as educators in the absence of parents, for instance.”

Praekelt said the organisation’s plans include the introduction of professionals to advise users of the platform.

Discussions are also under way for MTN and other networks to make the peer-to-peer platform accessible to their users.

A 2008 National Youth Lifestyle Study published by the Centre for Justice and Crime Prevention found that 39% of the 12-22 year-old respondents have had sex.

Some 55% of the sexually active respondants admitted to having sex before they were 15.

Poll questions

WOULD you abstain from sex? 44% said no; 37% yes; 17% maybe.

Are you sexually active? 44% said yes.

Is sex between teacher and pupil abuse of power? 35% said yes.

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