Letters to the Editor: Having to teach our kids about sending nude pics

March 14th, 2023 11:40 AM

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EDITOR – The gardaí recently launched their sextortion campaign explaining and warning people about sharing intimate images without consent and using such material to blackmail or harass a person. 

In the last two years I have experienced incidents with my teenagers (under 14 years old) where they have been asked to, or have been talking about, sending ‘nudes’ –  it scared the s%*t out of me! Never did I think as a mam that I would have to teach and warn my kids about sharing ‘nudes.’

In society we talk all the time about predators online and have an image of creepy adults praying on young people but what about their peers that they trust! I am more worried about the things they say, images they share and lack of understanding of the proper behaviour in their peer Snapchat and WhatsApp groups. The worst platform, and shame on them, is Snapchat, where kids and young people can say and share what they like with no blocking or monitoring. 

A website called ‘Common Sense Media’ defines Snapchat as ‘a popular messaging app that lets users exchange pictures and videos, called snaps, that are meant to disappear after they’re viewed.’ 

In the hands of young people who haven’t fully developed their frontal lobe that manages voluntary movement, expressive language and their executive functions such as ‘capacity to plan, organise, initiate, self-monitor and control one’s responses in order to achieve a goal’ this is a recipe for disaster. 

Yes, there is a responsibility on us as parents, and I have learned a big lesson myself, but how this content is not blocked or reported is beyond me. I only have to say a word and my social media platforms are sending me ads selling products but they can’t have better security? In my opinion, they are facilitating sextortion. When a low-level drug dealer is caught, the gardaí offer them lesser penalties in return for information on the top people, ie the facilitators. 

Our kids are just the low-level immature people and social media platforms are the top people who need to be caught and stopped! My teenagers, like most, are good, well brought-up, respectful, mannerly kids and still they are getting caught up in this behaviour and it needs to stop.


Brenda Kennedy,


Co Dublin.


EU sanctions against Russia aren’t working 

EDITOR – I write to you in relation to the war in Ukraine and how it relates to the everyday people of Cork. There are two realities we must face.

Firstly, Russia is winning this war. As Bakmut falls, the remaining territory east of the Dnieper river will almost certainly be consumed by the Russian war machine. From there, recapturing the Donbass and Crimea becomes an impossibility and will likely lead to a partitioning of the country. The rhetoric of Ukrainian victory only serves to cost the lives of countless Ukrainians and Russians. Meanwhile, the Minsk peace agreements gather dust on a shelf.

Secondly, the EU sanctions on Russia are not working. Even the IMF projects that its economy will experience slight growth in 2023 while painting a less rosy picture for European economies. Russia has simply opened new lucrative markets in the global south, rendering sanctions impotent, and landing EU states with massively increased energy costs.

These facts – and many, many more – has been largely obscured to the Irish people by both its elected representatives and media in equal measure.

But the reader may ask: ‘Why is this important to us in Ireland?’

I suggest that the Irish public’s support for this war is dependent on shrouding the real horror suffered by Ukrainians and convincing us that they can defeat the superpower Russia.

I also suggest that the ordinary person in the street would strongly protest the continuing sanctions against Russia if they believed that they do nothing but hurt EU citizens. (Just look at your most recent ESB bill!)

Finally, may I suggest if the nuances of this conflict and its complex origins were widely known, then the reasoned, compassionate position taken by Sabina Higgins last year – calling an immediate ceasefire and negotiations – would resonate resoundingly with Irish people? Our ‘leaders’ would be forced to promote diplomacy over further bloodshed.

Instead, the wanton suffering wrought upon the most unfortunate will continue while the world’s political and military elites play their power games. Mrs Higgins’ plea for negotiations will likely be ignored. Ukraine will lose what negotiating leverage it has, as Russia pushes forward and the US neoconservative eye turns towards China.  

Fergal McDonnell,


Co Tipperary.


I’ll remember the creatures’ screams in the gorse fires 

EDITOR – So there we have it, horrific banner headlines in the edition of The Southern Star on March 4th. I quote: ‘Locals hear wildlife scream as fire crews tackle 71 blazes.’

A photo of a blackened Mount Gabriel right up to the radar station, and the poignant sight of three sheep huddled together, their grazing ground obliterated by ash.

That was just one fire. It appeared that the whole of the west peninsula was a raging inferno putting lives and homes at risk. The predicament of the wildlife population leaves me with a leaden heart, we have let them down. Habitats and lives lost unnecessarily and that doesn’t take into account the biodiversity of our precious insects, namely our native bees and butterflies and a whole host of other species who have been burned and will not grace our gardens this year or even next.

So what is to be done? Where do we go from this point onwards? Are we going to be asking the same questions next year and thereafter, lamenting the loss of Ireland’s wildlife and habitats?

There has to be a positive way to approach this ‘burning issue’ which is apparently sanctioned by the government as a necessary way of clearing old gorse and scrub so that grazing can be reinstated on the freshly cleared ground. In 2023 why are we deploying such barbaric ways of procuring new ground for grazing? 

Surely there must be machinery that could be used, subsidised by the government (I believe this is the case in Scotland) or sadly if fire is the only means of clearing, should there not be training and supervision given if a fire has to be lit?

Meanwhile, the fire brigade are scarce on the ground for house fires, RTAs and other duties they are called upon to attend, thus putting even more life at risk, and costing the tax payer money while attending these horrific fires.

TDs please note, I do not want you coming to my door smiling and nodding when I put across my point about the burnings. 

I want positive answers followed by action, because all I shall remember are the screams of the creatures trapped within a raging inferno. We must not let them down again.

Feclity McDonald,


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