The Sexual Health Centre in Cork launched a campaign on Tuesday June 16th to raise awareness of the issues that young people may come up against online in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launch of ‘Screen-Age Kicks’
The centre have launched a guide called ‘Screen-Age Kicks – Your sexual health in the virtual world’ which was inspired by the National Youth Council of Ireland’s 2016 report on the ‘Screenagers’ international research project. It included consultations with young people regarding their experiences of social and digital media in the youth work setting.
Catherine Kennedy, the Centre Manager said “Digital and social media has opened up a world of opportunity for young people by enabling them to stay informed and connected, more than any generation before them. As much of the virtual world is difficult to regulate, it is important that young people are given unbiased, up to date information regarding the relationships and behaviours that they encounter, and engage in, online”. The guide includes information on topics such as ‘trolling’, ‘sexting’, communication skills, consent, and porn.
Guidance when it comes to COVID-19 and social distancing
Ms. Kennedy highlighted the need for guidance around young people’s health and relationships in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing measures:
“As young people have been spending more time at home and online, issues around online relationships, consent and porn have come to the fore. Many Irish teens and parents have not been given the tools or guidance to deal with these issues during the pandemic, and the Sexual Health Centre is seeking to bridge that gap”.
The Sexual Health Centre provides free workshops on relationships and sexual health, for young people. Due to COVID-19 they are currently offering some services and workshops online.