The app store – not exactly the first place you’d look to as a platform for the battle for reproductive rights and comprehensive sex education, but nevertheless these issues have found their way into the world of mini specialized programs. Found on mobile devices and tablets, apps are ultra accessible, downloading at the touch of a button, but they also put users at the mercy of the developers.
What kind of information is the app providing? What is the scope of the information?
We searched for apps that came up under “pro-choice,” “pro-life,” “abortion” and “sex education.” We found some programs that offered balanced, factual information, but we also found others that do nothing but lead women to crisis pregnancy centers and shame.
Here’s a brief breakdown of some of the best – and worst – apps that we found.
This bright, light-hearted app is an interactive sexual education tool for parents to teach children ages 2-8 about their bodies and sex. Using information from expert opinions and current scientific research, this virtual sex education experience facilitates communication and features age appropriate models. They are currently working on modules for ages 9-12 and 13-15.
Produced by a division of the campus newspaper at UCLA, this app is chalk full of sexual definitions and lessons. The app lists the definitions of different contraceptives and locations where they can be found. While the location information isn’t helpful outside of the Los Angeles area, the other content is universal. The lessons include everything from how to put on a condom to talking to a provider and sexual consent.
This app is produced by the nonprofit Online For Life, and is meant to provide real-time alerts from crisis pregnancy centers that are affiliated with the app. Users are encouraged to join a prayer team that receives notifications when appointments are made at local crisis pregnancy centers, and they are notified when the center has “rescued” a baby. Users are also asked to make monetary donations.
From this app users can email or call a crisis pregnancy center from this app. The app also includes images of a developing fetus and newborns, videos about how to inform parents of a pregnancy, and a quiz to help determine if a woman is pregnant. The messaging is anti-choice. At the bottom of the images page it asks, “…Why is it when I wanted the baby – it was a baby, and when I didn’t – it was something else?”