Lada’at’s website in Hebrew and Arabic draws some 300,000 users per year with accessible and reliable information. Indeed, ours is the most comprehensive in the country – and the only local source in Arabic.
In order to raise awareness and provide information to a significantly wider audience, Lada’at has long maintained an active presence on Facebook and, in 2021, launched Instagram accounts in Hebrew and in Arabic in order to reach teens and young people where they can often be found, online on social media, and provide accurate and reliable information about healthy sexuality and sexual health via one of their preferred online platforms. The informational posts use visual media and text designed especially for teenage audiences to provide information and encourage active engagement and discussion. Topics range from teaching about different parts of the body’s sexual organs and reproductive system to what to expect from a visit to the OB-GYN, choosing a romantic/sexual partner, gender roles, violence against women and forms of contraception. In order to ensure that our informational content is available wherever teens are, we are now doing more work with short videos (the preferred medium of today’s teens and young adults), launched a TikTok account in 2022 and upload video content to Instagram reels.
It is clear to us that social media, especially those platforms popular among teens, is an important component of our work in education. Following the school workshops, we encourage participants to follow us on Instagram to continue learning – and many do. Moreover, unlike the content that is taught by our workshop facilitators, our informational posts remain in place and can be consulted at any time. As such, they function as an in-depth summary and clarification of workshop content, a means of expanding the teens’ knowledge far beyond that which is possible within the time limits of the workshops, and a way to continue Lada’at’s connection with these teens.
One more reason for focusing on social media is in order to occupy the same space where much damage is done to teens’ self-image – and achieve the opposite. Social media is full of unrealistic representations of bodies and gender norms, and it is easy for teens, especially girls, who spend hours online, to get a warped sense of ideals of physical beauty and gender expectations regarding the body and behavior. We at Lada’at see our presence in this space – and that of like-minded organizations and individuals – as crucial for counterbalancing this harmful content with healthy, realistic, body-positive messaging.
Lada’at’s Facebook page in Hebrew is focused on raising awareness of social issues, activism and advocating for policy change on issues such as abortion legislation. We also run a closed Facebook group for people to ask questions related to sexual health and receive responses from Lada’at counselors. Our new Arabic-language Facebook page and closed group are expanding this work to reach new audiences.