Parents, Tweens & Sex


  • Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology
  • Action Psychology


Parents, Tweens & Sex is an engaging, safe and enjoyable resource for parents to use with their tweens (10-13 year olds). This unique app supports parents to educate their tweens with the sexual intelligence needed to be mindful, comfortable, respectful and responsive when they eventually have sexual relationships. The app helps parents to share their personal values and ethics while having conversations about sexual issues. A collaboration between expert and author, Sarah Calleja, with Swinburne University of Technology, the design of this ground-breaking app sensitively balances educational content with engaging functionality to create unique teaching experiences on a complex topic.

Key Features


Design Excellence: The design of the Parents, Tweens & Sex app responds to the emergence of important, sensitive and challenging social issues confronting parents and their children, as social and digital media transforms the dynamics of relationships. Information and educational content is handled with sophistication, carefully combining the design of functionality with visually engaging graphics and interactivity. The app creates narrative spaces that facilitate a dialogue between two audiences, each with different needs and perspectives on topics of sexuality. The design responds by providing tools and resources within a unified presentation, effectively using digital media\’s capabilities, including animation and video.


Design Transformation: The collaboration between design team and client-author had a significant influence on how the app was developed in a professional context, enabling the client to make a transition to new forms of client interaction and counselling. The design investment in the Parents, Tweens & Sex app led to the development of unique counselling resources and tools, which are now integrated within the client\’s practice, and which demonstrates a pathway to further development of this area. Within a business context, the investment in design transformed the client\’s professional communications model, expanding from conventional book publishing into cutting-edge digital media.


Design Impact: The design has created the most significant value for the app\’s primary audience, who are comprised of parents and their children. The app\’s design, developed in consultation with experts, plays a vital role in creating a space for shared dialogue and an open exchange of information in sexual education. The app design also represents a significant innovation within the field of counselling psychology, generally, by providing valuable resources and tools that can be implemented, or referred, by practitioners and educators for their clients. The design response is staged throughout the app for adoption by its different end users.


Design Innovation: The empowering and enabling qualities of the Parents, Tweens & Sex app, arose from a unique inter-disciplinary collaboration between designers and Counselling Psychologist and Clinical Sexologist, Sarah Calleja. Guided by an expert, and mentored by academic staff, the app was conceived and produced by a design team, comprised of Honours students at the Faculty of Design, Swinburne University of Technology. Multi-collaborative pathways facilitated team members to fluently incorporate their expertise into the design. The first of its genre, this app establishes the benchmark for interactive user-engagement in its field, through the synergy of design vision with practitioner clarity.

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