Young people engaging in risky behaviours such as sexting may experience anxiety as Covid-19 restrictions ease and they begin to socialise again. That’s according to experts speaking at the launch today (26.06.20) of a new tool to help those working with young people to start a conversation with them around the topic of ‘sexting’.
The Let’s Talk about Sexting toolkit was developed by the National Youth Council of Ireland (NYCI) – which represents organisations working with over 380,000 young people nationwide – with the support of An Garda Síochána.
Speaking at the launch Rachael Treanor, National Youth Health Programme Manager at the NYCI said: “Before Covid-19, some young people where already engaging in risky sexual behaviours. However, for young people during Covid-19, online communication became the main source of interaction and connection with significant people in their lives. And with this reliance on the online world, there is a possibility young people could engage in risky behaviours such as sexting.
“As restrictions begin to ease over the coming months, and young people begin to resume youth clubs and meet friends, some will experience anxiety due to risky sexual behaviours which they may have engaged in during the Covid-19 restrictions.
“Romantic relationships comprise of intimacy, physicality, emotions, and the overall experience of being close to another. However, for all of us, regardless of our stage of life, our relationships have changed during Covid-19.
“A recent report from the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol)  states that ‘activity around the distribution of child sexual exploitation material online appears to be on the increase, based on a number of indicators’. This reflects what we are hearing anecdotally across our networks regarding a potential increase in risky behaviours and means that young people may be more vulnerable online during the pandemic,” continued Ms Treanor.
“As restrictions ease, NYCI’s National Youth Health Programme will be working with youth workers to support young people to look after their sexual health and build healthy relationships as we enter into a ‘new normal’” explained Ms Treanor.
“We want to continue to support youth workers help young people build their communication skills and confidence around their sexual health. This toolkit ‘Let’s Talk about Sexting’ is a starting point for youth workers to engage in that conversation.”
As part of this work the organisation has created the ‘Let’s Talk about Sexting’ toolkit to support youth workers to start a conversation with young people around the topic of ‘sexting’. Developed with support from An Garda Síochána the tool provides guidance on:
What is meant by the term ‘sexting’
Sexting and the Irish law
Guidance for young people on what to do if they are involved in a sexting incident which they are not comfortable in
Guidance for the youth worker if a young person notifies them on a sexting incident
Additional supports and services for both the youth worker and young people
For further information, please contact Daniel Meister, Communications Manager at NYCI on 087 781 4903 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
National Youth Council of Ireland
The National Youth Council of Ireland is a membership-led umbrella organisation that represents and supports the interests of voluntary youth organisations and uses its collective experience to act on issues that impact on young people. See Youth.ie
National Youth Health Programme
The National Youth Health Programme (NYHP) is a partnership between the National Youth Council of Ireland, the Health Service Executive and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs. See Youth.ie/health