Teen sex has been the subject of some breathless—and sensationalistic—news reports. It’s something every teenager thinks about and something every parent of a teenager worries about. And these days, it seems like kids are doing way too much, way too soon. But are they? With our special report and a landmark poll, “Young Teens & Sex” (see page 86), we close the gap between myth and reality.
The report is the result of a unique collaboration between PEOPLE and NBC News, which will be airing its own Katie Couric special on the subject, The 411: Teens & Sex, on Wed., Jan. 26 at 10 p.m. Not surprisingly, the subject hits close to home for Couric, the mother of two girls, ages 9 and 13, who says she is herself looking for reassurance and guidance—and ways to get through the next turbulent years. “Like all parents I struggle with trying to give my daughters a healthy attitude about sexuality and important information, so that they can make the right decisions,” says Couric. “It’s a constant struggle, and I want to keep the lines of communication open.” We hope our poll and our stories help parents and kids deal with this difficult subject and talk more to each other.