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‘Comprehend Before You Send’ project from Coláiste Bríde

Sextortion is a rising issue for young people - this YSI project seeks to address this.

Written by Robyn Maguire and posted in opinion

This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for please contact

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Deciding on a YSI project

When signing up for Young Social Innovators (YSI) we did not really know what the class was about. When our YSI teacher Ms. Kelly explained it to us, we all began brainstorming ideas for social issues we were all passionate about. After many classes of discussions we  finally agreed that sextortion was a rising issue with teenagers and even younger ages.

We then were faced with the challenge of how we are going to make people aware. We began with making social media accounts and by using Twitter and Instagram. We gained the attention and support of many digital safety organisations. We had the idea of creating informational packs which we will be giving to all transition year's in our school, creating badges for our school and leaflets for our school and the local community.

YSI Den & Speak Out

To do this we needed funding, so we applied for YSI Den. Myself and three other girls began making our pitch for the den. We designed a logo for the badges and the bags and made prototypes to show at the Den, so the judges knew what we were going for when asking for funding. The day of the Den nerves were high, and pressure was on. If we did not get the funding we may not have been able to afford making everything we wanted. But we were lucky we got more than just funding, we were also offered three hours of marketing mentoring. We were so thankful and cannot wait for the mentoring session.

The next task was preparing for the YSI Speak Out. After many discussions and disagreements on what we should do we all agreed on one idea that was sure to make people remember us and listen to our project. We split into two groups of poster design and script writing. When writing the script, we had to try and figure out how to fit all the research we had done in the past few weeks into a two-minute production. Those making the poster had many difficulties. It's not that easy to try and make a large poster that will be split between nine people and still have people understand the message which was "Comprehend Before You Send" our project’s title.


Discussing sextortion in schools

We had also conducted surveys for all classes in our school and in our brother school to see how many teens knew what sextortion meant, how many had been asked for nudes and how many ask. We used some of the results in our Speak Out. The day of the Speak Out we were all very nervous. We had no idea what to expect and were nervous that our performance would go wrong, but everything went perfectly, we had so many people tweet about our performance. It was amazing, but our work does not end there.

We mentioned in our Speak Out that children as young as eight are being targeted by online sexual predators, so we have reached out to six of our local primary schools to see if they would let us give a presentation on being safe online and what sextortion is. We are currently putting together three different PowerPoints for the three different age groups we are reaching out to, which are second class, fourth class and sixth class.  We are making different PowerPoints as we need to filter with the younger ages but still get the message across that it's not always safe online and that you always need to be careful.

We know schools get digital safety talks, but we feel that if people closer in age are informing them they may care a little more than having someone twice their age telling them to not go online because it is not safe. While some of us are doing that the rest of the class are in the process of producing a short video on how life is affected by online sextortion and what to do in that situation. We also had a short talk with second years in our school and hopefully inspired them to also do YSI in TY as well. Whilst doing research we noticed there are very little helplines or sites that people who have been affected by online abuse and sextortion can go to. It's all just teen helplines which sometimes is not enough. We want people to know this is an issue and it can be resolved by spreading awareness, which is why when given the opportunity to have an article in SpunOut we could not deny.

Thank you all for reading and we all hope you support our project Comprehend Before You Send.

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Published March 23rd2018
Tags opinion sexting young social innovators project
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