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"Parents tend to focus on pregnancy prevention in order to keep children on track to fulfill the hopes and dreams they have for them," says Vickie Mays, professor of psychology and health services at UCLA and an expert on race and sexual behavior.
"But if you want to prevent pregnancy, the conversations can't just be 'Don't, don't, don't.' We need to talk to children about what they're doing, how they're feeling, what they're thinking about." And we need to get up to speed.
But if technology has widened the divide between adults and children, then we need to find new ways to steer them through the abyss. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, one in two African-American girls will become pregnant before she reaches 20, nearly twice the national average.And research shows that pregnancy and parenthood are leading causes of school dropout.African-American teenagers are also contracting HIV and other STIs at disproportionately high rates.Jasmine is sitting on the green metal stairs behind her suburban school, watching clusters of students cut through the teachers' parking lot on their way home.Jasmine, slim and barely 5 feet tall, fiddles with the strap of her book bag and lets out a sigh.
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According to the dozens of teens interviewed for this story, if you want to get through to your child, you need to know what they're really dealing with.