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YSI Team Brief Garda Commissioner on Work Relating to Sexting Abuse

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YSI Team Brief Garda Commissioner on Work Relating to Sexting Abuse

Young Social Innovators team 'Keep It PG' from Ardscoil Mhuire, Corbally, Co. Limerick with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris

The title-holders of Young Social Innovators of the Year 2018 from Ardscoil Mhuire, Corbally, met with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris in Limerick to brief him on their work and to discuss their concerns in relation to sexting abuse among minors in Ireland.

Sexting abuse is the sending of unsolicited sexually explicit digital images, videos, text messages, or emails, usually by mobile phone. These teenagers are calling for changes to current legislation in this area which they argue is unfit for purpose and they would also like to ensure that Gardaí are given the appropriate support, guidance and legal framework to deal with reported cases of sexting abuse.

Clockwise from top left: the 'Keep It PG' team with their Garda Youth Award; Commissioner Harris listening to the team briefing; the 'Keep It PG' team along with their YSI Guide Lorraine Kerin and Ardscoil Mhuire principal Bríd Herbert; the 'Keep It PG' team being interviewed by RTÉ

As part of their work, the YSI project team, ‘Keep It PG’, has worked closely with local Community Gardaí in Limerick and held workshops and information sessions for students. They produced informational and instructive materials providing information as well as suggested responses that recipients of such messages might use. They also created a range of fun and engaging activities to advise people on the correct actions to take if they receive unwanted images.

The students won the national title at the Young Social Innovators of the Year Awards held in Croke Park in May 2018. They 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.

The 'Keep It PG' team speak with Commissioner Harris and Community Garda, Lisa Griffin during the briefing

At the event 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.  Social media has created great opportunities to communicate, but also problems such as the sending of inappropriate material to minors. It is vital that all of us involved in protecting young people utilise all the tools available to help us with this and this excellent initiative is another welcome means in combating online child abuse.”

“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. 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.”

Sarah McDarby, one of the YSI team members who briefed the Commissioner

YSI Co-Founder and CEO Rachel Collier said; “Young people are at the forefront of tackling some of the most pressing and recent social issues facing them and our society. 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. Today we are extremely encouraged that the Garda Commissioner himself has invited these young innovators to brief him on the problem and to share their ideas on some solutions around sexting and how the Gardai and legislators can come up with better solutions.”

Click here to read more about the 'Keep It PG' team and their campaign.