January 31, 2005 12:00 PM

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.

MANAGING EDITOR

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