State prosecutors target teen pregnancy through Facebook

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’ “What’s the Rush?” campaign.

“Few teenagers understand the financial obligation of raising a child,” said District Attorney General Mike Flynn. “By reaching teens through Facebook, we can spread the word about the responsibilities of parenthood. Facebook has proved to be a powerful tool.”

Since its launch in Jan. 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.”

For more information about “What’s the Rush?” call Mike Flynn at (865) 273-5600. To learn more and access the campaign materials, visit www.tndagc.org/whatstherush, Facebook: www.facebook.com/whatstherushtn or YouTube at: www.youtube.com/whatstherushtn.

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