It will have come as a shock to many this week, to see a young 24-year-old Dublin woman charged with the defilement of a child, a teenage boy. This is something we have not really seen in Ireland up to now. A very young woman, who if convicted of the alleged offence, will be registered Sex Offender. The reported allegations involve a student from the school she worked in, who was under 17.
How many friends do you really have, 1000 or even 10,000 perhaps. In this ever connected world, how often do you enter a room on your own, close the door to isolate yourself, so you can chat with people you have never even met? Technology has changed the way people interact with each other. There are plenty of positives to what we can do with digital devices. However there are also an incredible number of negatives.
From speaking to children, we have witnessed a huge increase in the amount who are viewing T.V. and Movie content which is unsuitable for them. Almost all of the children are telling us, they have seen the content either on YouTube or Netflix. Children in National Schools have reported how they have been unable to sleep at night, or had disturbing dreams as a direct result of something they had seen on a digital device.
Students at Coláiste Bríde in Clondalkin, Co. Dublin, recently discovered in a study, that two out of every three people in the school, had received a sexualized image, or had been asked for one. The results led students to launch their own Sexting awareness campaign. Sexting is an obvious source of concern for the parents of young teens. It can also be a big problem for teens themselves. Imagine how difficult it must be, to exist in an online environment, where all of your own friends, followers and peers are exchanging sexualized images.
Every now and again, we may try to Detox our bodies, by eating healthier, exercising and generally just taking better care of ourselves. In doing so, we begin to feel better, as we release the toxins build up in our system. Some are inspired to take a step towards a detox after an overindulgence on a Holiday, or after Christmas.
Today we would like to discuss, how harmful it can be for children to share inappropriate images of themselves, with others when using their devices. Incredibly we have found that children in Irish Primary Schools in 5th and 6th class, are very aware of this behaviour. What some children can believe is a just a funny image or photo of themselves, can have really serious long negative effects if shared with others.
What is Sexting ?
This video is aimed at young children to teach them what can happen if they were to take or share an inappropriate image and how quick it can spread
This is a series of videos aimed at teens
This series of videos are aimed at parents who discover an image of their child has been shared
This week, it was revealed that Blennerville National School, near Tralee in Co Kerry, agreed with parents in the school, that it was time to put a ban on digital device access for students. There had been a number of incidents revolving around the access and sharing of inappropriate content and Cyberbullying. The ban on devices at home, is an 11-week pilot programme. What we would describe as a Digital Detox, only for the children in sixth class. This decision is similar to one we have been promoting in National Schools for some time now that children should never be given a ‘Smartphone’. We had been anxiously waiting to see a community who would come together and formulate a plan such as this in Ireland. A first step on this path has been publicly taken by a school and parents. We would hope that all parents would look with great interest upon it, and follow-up and try this themselves.