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Planned Parenthood creates chatbot to answer questions about sex

March 08, 2019 08:55 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) - For some parents, having "the talk" with teens about sex can be difficult. Planned Parenthood has created a tool to help.

An online software called Roo was designed by a group of high school kids in Brooklyn.

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The group came together to collect data and design the chatbot that would make kids would feel comfortable interacting with. It's a reliable source of information for teens on topics like periods, pregnancy, condoms, and dating.

Roo allows you to type in a question or choose from a list of frequently asked questions. The chatbot responds immediately with an answer and links to online evidence-based information on the topic.

Debora McDell-Hernandez with Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York says in the age of social media misinformation, this tool is necessary and valuable.

"We're in a digital age and there's an abundance of information out there," McDell-Hernandez said. "Sometimes there's information that's accurate information out there and sometimes it's not accurate."

Roo is free and available 24/7.

"At Planned Parenthood, one of our things is having access to healthcare be accessible and affordable to all," McDell-Hernandez said. "This meets all those standards."

If Roo doesn't know the answer to a question, the chatbot will ask the user to rephrase the question or connect them to reliable evidence-based resources about the topic.

If it's a serious issue, Roo will ask if a teen wants to be connected to a health educator. 

To use Roo, you can text "Roo" to 22422.

Credits

Kaci Jones

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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