DUMAGUETE CITY, Sept. 3 (PIA) – The high exposure of young people to internet technology and other media platforms has led to the rise in the number of sexually active youths in Central Visayas.
This is one of the major issues discussed during a Kapihan sa PIA here on the Young Adult Fertility and Sexuality Study (YAFS4) that some representatives of the Commission on Population-7 (PopCom-7) reported today.
PopCom-7 has noted that the emergence of new forms of information technology has given rise to new forms of sexual activity and new methods of meeting sexual partners which could lead into negative consequences to youths.
Base on YAFS4 data, 67.0% of them use the internet, 54.6% are on social media, 54.5% have actual e-mail addresses while majority of the youths which are 77.6% have cellular phones, 34.3% have textmates they have not met in person and 25.9% have online friends which they have not met in person.
This means most of young people in Central Visayas are digitally wired and because youths are getting hooked with the latest information and technology mediums, internet has become one of primary sources of information regarding sex.
Also, there has been a considerable level of access to pornographic materials including sexually explicit media among youths in Central Visayas.
POPCOM-7 Planning Officer Myrna Alaba, in her presentation on youth’s sexual behaviors, she disclosed that there has been an increase in the proportion of females who watch x-rated movies or video from 36.9 % in 2002 to 47.5% in 2013. While the number of males viewing pornographic videos have declined from 78.4% in 2002 to 76.0 in 2013.
Moreover, two out of ten youths in the region have sent or received sex videos through cell phones or in the internet.
With this Central Visayas placed third among other regions in the country with high percentage of youths who have watched x-rated movies/videos from the internet with 62.4%, based on YAFS4 study. CARAGA region placed first with 66.7% while National Capital Region (NCR) ranked second with 66.2%.
Region-7 is also fourth among regions with youths on high exposure to websites with sexually explicit content with 15.5%. The first was NCR with 33.3%, Region-4A with 19.0% and Region-3 with 16.7%, fifth was Region-11 with 14.5%.
Aside from these, Alaba also revealed other media-related sexual activities which young people in Central Visayas are involved in. These include, recording himself/herself while having sexual intercourse, having sex with someone they met online or through text messages and phone sex.
Meanwhile, POPCOM Information Officer Darlynn Remolino also reported in the Kapihan the over-all figures of sexual activities of youths in Central Visayas.
She revealed that of the estimated 1,425,883 young people in the region (as of 2013), more than 503,000 of them have engaged in premarital sex; 353,000 of them did not use any form of protection during their first sexual intercourse.
In addition, around 73,000 youths have casual sex experience while 29,000 out of 725,706 male youths have male having sex with male experience. On the other hand, of the 376,411 females aged 15-19, more than 49,000 have begun childbearing.
Remolino added that “The awareness of AIDS is still high but the level of has sharply decline in the past decade and there is poor knowledge of HIV-AIDS because they have lots of misconceptions on HIV.”
With this alarming data, the POPCOM-7 continues to call for intensified proper information dissemination about teenage sexuality and reproductive health as well as proper guidance from parents and school teachers to youths.
“They (teen-agers) have a hard time on understanding what is going on with them emotionally, physically, with the changes they undergo. This is the crucial stage (for them) and we, adults must come in to guide them,” POPCOM-7 Information Officer Sheryl May Villarta-Ygay said.
POPCOM-7 conducts U4U program that aims to provide an objective discussion to sexuality education. Ygay said, they would explain to young people the changes they experience in adolescent and teach them how to become responsible in their actions and decisions.
Dumaguete City Vice Mayor Woodrow Maquiling has appealed to parents to strengthen values formation to their children. He lamented that this phenomenon is happening because of the deterioration of values among youths.
“The challenge for you, as lay leaders to be in the vanguard of struggle against immorality and indecency,” Maquiling said. He also advised parents to be dedicated and committed guardians of moral values of their children.
YASF4 is the fourth in the series of studies on Filipino youth which began in 1982. It has been the primary source of information on sexual and non-sexual risk behaviors among youths in the Philippines at the national and regional level.
Youth respondents of the study are between 15-24 years old which is said to be the reproductive age on young people. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-NegOr/Article first published at PIA Website on Sept. 4. 2014)