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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 September, 2004, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Texting teens use SMS for help
Person using Text Talk service
Texting provides an anonymous and safe way of talking
Text-mad youngsters are being targeted by a youth charity determined to speak to them in a language they understand.

Base 25, a charity offering advice on subjects such as relationship and health issues is using text messages to communicate with teenagers.

Text Talk allows troubled youngsters to send a text to a dedicated number and receive an immediate response.

"It makes sense to use a medium which our target market is very comfortable with," said Rob Willoughby at Base 25.

"Research has found that 96% of young people own mobile phones, regardless of social class and youngsters are extremely adept at using text messaging technology," he added.

Boy talk

As a general trend we have noticed more boys using the service and that may be because text messaging enables anonymity which makes it easy for them to ask for help
Rob Willoughby, chair of Base 25
The text service has been in operation in Wolverhampton since January and has helped 200 youngsters in its opening months.

There are now plans to offer a similar service to groups operating nationally and Base 25 has had lots of initial interest from other charities such as the NSPCC and the Samaritans.

The main issues young people are contacting Base 25 about are health information, relationship dilemmas and sexuality.

And boys seem particularly drawn to the service.

"As a general trend we have noticed more boys using the service and that may be because text messaging enables anonymity which makes it easy for them to ask for help," said Mr Willoughby.

The text service was provided by Orange Business Solutions, with support from research firm mobileYouth and SMS applications firm PrimetexT.


SEE ALSO:
Residents' free flood texts offer
05 Sep 04  |  Oxfordshire
Youth workers to text teenagers
21 Aug 04  |  Nottinghamshire
Texting passion sets new record
23 Jul 04  |  Technology
Text message classes for over 50s
23 Jul 04  |  Scotland


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