Young people are grappling with complex challenges brought about by new technology and mobile devices. The scary thing is that these challenges are hard to keep up with, let alone control.
Back on 3 September 2015 a BBC Today programme covered the story of a 14-year-old boy who faced prosecution for “making and distributing an indecent image of a child”. It is an image of the boy himself, taken on his mobile phone and sent to a girl he knows. He had no idea he was breaking the law. But he is not alone.
Most young people who treat ‘sexting’ as the new ‘flirting’ have no idea that they could potentially face criminal charges.
So how do we, as a society, begin to educate young people about these issues when technology is at their fingertips, and the law seems a million miles removed from the immediacy of Instagram or Snapchat?
Creating a relevant project with teenagers – one that engages them on questions of relationships, sexual consent, and ‘sexting’ – is no mean feat. But this is exactly the task that Laura Walsh, Youth Programme Manager at Central YMCA took on.
In September 2014, Laura was behind YMCA England’s signature Young Health Champions project. It aimed to engage, educate and empower young people on the subjects of mental health, sexual health, physical health, as well as drugs and alcohol – not to mention enable them to become youth health trainers themselves.