Young Social Innovators students from Ardscoil Mhuire, with Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris during a briefing on the students proposals to sexting PICTURE: Derek Speirs
LIMERICK teenagers, who recently picked up a national award for their campaign highlighting the perils of sexting, briefed the Garda Commissioner on their concerns about sexting abuse and minors in Ireland.
Students from Ardscoil Mhuire in Corbally, title-holders of the Young Social Innovators (YSI) of the Year 2018 for their project Keep It PG, met with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss their research on sexting.
Inspired by their concern that the sending of unsolicited, sexually explicit material is prevalent amongst teenagers, the students are calling for changes to current legislation in this area.
“It was wonderful to have the opportunity to meet with the Commissioner and to tell him about this issue that is affecting so many young people in Ireland today,” said Sarah McDarby, one of the YSI team members who briefed the Commissioner.
“We hope that we can make a real difference in this area and help those who have and continue to be affected by sexting abuse, which is often something that is kept hidden by those who experience it.”
The Keep It PG team are also calling for Gardaí to be given the appropriate support, guidance and legal frameworks to deal with reported cases of sexting abuse.
As part of their work for the YSI project, the Keep It PG team has worked closely with local community gardaí in Limerick and held workshops and information sessions for students.
For their project, the students won the national title at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards held in Croke Park in May 2018.
The students also received a Community Award at the Limerick Divisional Garda Youth Awards in November as well as a nomination for the National Garda Youth Awards to be held in May 2019.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said: “I am delighted to meet this group of young social innovators today.”
“This is a great example of young people developing their own solutions for the problems facing their generation.”
Young people are at the forefront of tackling some of the most pressing and recent social issues facing society, according to YSI co-founder and chief executive Rachel Collier.
“The Keep It PG Campaign is a perfect example of an issue that adversely affects young people and their wellbeing.”
“They have the insight to best know the impact of such behaviour and have the creative ability to help develop solutions.”