DAs use Facebook to combat teen pregnancy

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

FAYETTEVILLE -- Courtrooms, investigations and prosecution are common terms that are typically associated with Tennessee's district attorneys, but Facebook is a term that doesn't normally come to mind.

The Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference is taking an unconventional approach in reaching teens with an aggressive social media campaign, incorporating Facebook to raise awareness of the legal, financial and social consequences of teen parenthood. The statewide initiative is part of the DAs' highly successful What's the Rush? campaign.

"Teens don't understand the responsibilities of being a teen parent. We see this every day in court, and the number of cases we see is only increasing," said District Attorney General Charles Crawford. "Reaching teens requires targeting them through alternative outlets, and Facebook is a vehicle for reaching teens directly."

Since its launch in January 2010, the What's the Rush? Facebook page has generated more than 20,115 page views and gathered more than 2,600 fans. Of these fans, 59 percent are between the ages of 13 and 24. The page features relevant news articles, videos featuring district attorneys and other general information pertaining to the campaign.

The rapid increase of interest in the What's the Rush? Facebook page was in part a result of the DAs' introducing Facebook Days. High schools across the state were contacted and asked to participate in Facebook Days by selecting a specific day to encourage students at that school to become fans of the page.

"Incorporating Facebook into the already successful What's the Rush? campaign has paid enormous dividends," said Guy Jones, deputy director of the Tennessee District Attorneys General Conference. "Facebook is such an effective tool to reach teens, and it just makes sense to use it as a method to spread the campaign's message."

High schools across the state participated in Facebook Days. In addition to providing teenagers with access to educational materials via social media, all public high schools in Tennessee received brochures, posters and DVDs to educate teenagers about teen parenting.

For more information about What's the Rush? call Charles Crawford at 931-438-1906. To learn more and access the campaign materials, please visit www.tndagc.org/whatstherush.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/whatstherushtn

YouTube: www.youtube.com/whatstherushtn