A particular area of interest for me is the impact on children and young people of growing up in the digital age. I regularly speak on this topic and run workshops for young people, focusing on issues such as sexting and the impact of internet pornography on relationships.
In school populations, there is an increase in young people presenting with significant levels of distress due to cyberbullying.
What also needs to be highlighted is how widespread access to pornographic imagery is amongst young people. Some studies suggest that the average first exposure to porn on-line is now just eight years of age. By the ages of 12-17, evidence indicates that young people (especially males) are avid consumers of graphic sexual content. Viewing such material, sometimes violent or disturbing in nature, before engaging in any real sexual contact with a partner can potentially distort the capacity to form loving intimate relationships. There is also pressure on both sexes to conform to unrealistic stereotypes of how their bodies 'should' look.
Space Between workshops aim to increase emotional awareness in relationships for young people and how to manage these, in terms of emotional / psychological well being in the current technological climate.
Interactive workshops, consisting of seven sessions aimed at Years 7-8 in secondary schools, look at emotional awareness in relationships and how to manage these for young people.
More information can be found at www.spacebetween.org.uk