GirlSmarts is a website for adolescents to explore their health behaviors. The site averages 10,000 to 15,000 visits per month, which is a tremendous increase from when it began two years ago, reports Nirupama K. DeSilva, MD, Oklahoma Section chair. Overall, 189,500 people have viewed the site. Approximately 93% of visitors are new, and they come from 13 countries.
According to Dr. DeSilva, the frontal cortex of the teenage brain—the part that understands consequences of behaviors—is underdeveloped. GirlSmarts allows teens to access high-risk situations in a web-based format, prior to potentially experiencing these situations in real life. The site gives teens time to formulate their actions and decrease risk-taking behavior. Further, the question portion of the site offers teens accurate answers to commonly asked questions.
Dr. DeSilva was the primary developer of the site with web designer GiantSky. A grant from District VII helped with the initial and current funding. A mobile app is currently in development and is expected to launch in late spring or early summer.