The Echo speaks to students across Cork who have been speaking out about social issues that matter most to them as part of the Young Social Innovators (YSI) Speak Out Week.
Ballincollig Community School’s Leaving Cert Applied students chose to explore the effects that gaming and screen time have had on people during Covid-19 restrictions.
The Lockdown Gaming project explored peoples’ gaming habits during lockdown and the age-appropriate games that people should be playing at their age as opposed to the games they are actually playing.
Speaking to The Echo, student Rebecca O’Brennan, who was one of eight others involved in the project, said that they chose their topic based on their conclusion that “since we can’t leave the house that much a good few people are turning to gaming and being on screens all the time”.
“We surveyed people in our school and what we found is that people are actually losing sleep and not getting enough sleep and they’re playing games that they shouldn’t really be playing because they’re not really age-appropriate and a lot of those people under 18 are playing over 18 games,” she said.
She said that the YSI project is beneficial for people of her age group as they “feel their voice is being heard”.
“With the Lockdown Gaming project, people also know that others are doing the same thing and it’s not just them in it alone so I thought it was a really good topic and good to be able to be involved in a group project like that as well,” she said.
The project was delivered over the course of year one of the LCA programme through the guidance module at the school where the YSI project was the focus for some months and the students’ other continuous assessments were the focus for other months.
Guidance counsellor at the school AnnMarie Whelan said that students dipped in and out of their YSI project throughout the year and that it was “brilliant” to see the knowledge and different skills of each student shown over the course of the year.
Ms Whelan said that it was a great way to build each student’s self-esteem and confidence and that she witnessed them “totally come out of themselves” and that recording and sharing their video to the dedicated Speak Out Virtual Tour platform was “a big step because they wouldn’t normally like to be showcasing themselves in that way”.
She said that she was proud of the students who work “very hard across the board anyway” but this project allowed each of them to shine in their own roles, whether it was a leadership role, video editing, poster making or scriptwriting.