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A. Mudannayake, T. Weerasinghe

University of Colombo (SRI LANKA)
Today teenagers have more freedom and opportunities to experience new thing and people. Parents are busy with their career and they do not have time to pay concern on dramatic behavioral changes of their teenage children. As a result teenagers are more vulnerable for abuse and health problems in particularly for teenage pregnancy. In order to minimize this issue the World Health Organization has started conducting workshops to empowered teenagers with knowledge, attitude and safety skills related for prevention of teenage pregnancy. Further, the health organizations emphasize the importance of identifying an interactive and innovative strategy to develop psychosocial competencies in teenagers to reduce reproductive health problems. Since information and communication technology has proven to bring benefits for education, the present study aims to investigate how ICT can be used to reduce the major health problem, teenage pregnancy through psychosocial competence development among teenagers.

The study was conducted with a group of female adolescents having regular contacts with the Ministry of Health Sri Lanka for counseling support. A group of 10 adolescents' ages between 15-19 were selected upon their consent for participating in the study. Data were gathered through interviews and online questionnaire. The set of questions to conduct the interview was prepared based on the data gathered from the doctors (professional student counselors) and some medical reports at the Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka. The questionnaire was properly evaluated by a professional counselor and it was used to gather data at the interviews under his recommendation. Notes were taken during the interviews and data were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively. An online questionnaire was prepared based on the questionnaires provided by the Ministry of Health and it was given to the participants who were willing to get their psychosocial competencies measured online.

The results of the analysis of interview data informed that all the participants were willing to share their psychosocial issue online. According to the results 90% liked to get their psychosocial competencies measured online and they all satisfied about online questionnaire. The remaining 10% were not responded and remained silent. However they all expressed their willingness to attempt the online questionnaire, learn about psychosocial competencies and develop their related skills. Further in order to design the online information system to support the adolescents to overcome their psychosocial issues a set of questions regarding appropriate instructional media were raised at the interview. 80% of them expressed their willingness to study through online games.

The results of the present study inform that adolescents’ level of psychosocial competencies can be assessed and they can be supported through an online system. However, when collecting data from the adolescents we need to concern a lot about protecting their privacy. Also, it is important to check whether the users of this system (adolescents) can receive adequate support that they expected.

I would like to express my special thanks of gratitude to all the participants and the counselors.