December 30, 2022, Durham, NC – Literature suggests that Latino parents, like other communities, lack confidence in their knowledge and ability to discuss sex and relationships with their kids. However, few resources are available to guide parents in communicating with their teenagers about sexual health, especially in a culturally relevant format.

iRT’s self-paced, interactive online program, Media Aware Parent, is designed to help parents navigate conversations with their teenagers about sex, relationships, and media. Dr. Tracy Scull, Senior Research Scientist for iRT, and Dr. Mercedes M. Morales-Alemán, Assistant Professor for The University of Alabama, aim to adapt Media Aware Parent to better suit the cultural preferences of Latino parents and provide a parent-focused resource for Latino families to improve parent-child communication about sensitive topics.

Funded by a grant awarded by the Office of Research and Economic Development at The University of Alabama, iRT researchers and Morales-Alemán are recruiting for an initial set of interviews with Latino health experts and Latino parents to better understand the preferences and needs for the culturally adapted program.

Considering their findings, as well as the feedback of a Community Advisory Board convened by Morales-Alemán’s research team, the cultural adaptation of Media Aware Parent will be developed to deliver the program content in the language users prefer. The team will also consider mobile phone accessibility of the program and design preferences of Latino users to prepare for program development.

iRT hopes to address the specific needs for culturally relevant media literacy resources in the Latino community and provide education and improved self-efficacy for parents hoping to communicate with their teenagers about sexual health.