For ParentsFor Teachers

“What’s Your Story?” Contest Winners Announced

By Lynette T. Owens

After 6 weeks of watching the entries come in, and a week of determining the finalists and winners, we have finally announced the winners of the “What’s Your Story?” video contest.

When we began planning the contest, we hoped to use a medium that was familiar to young people (video-making is all the rage).   We wanted to engage them by getting them to drive views of their own educational videos (views and ratings factored into winning).   And we wanted to elicit some videos that we could use in our own educational and outreach efforts.   And I’m pleased to say that’s exactly what happened.

It was exciting and heartening to see numerous entries from all over the US & Canada, and a large percentage of them (40%) registered by people between 13-17.  There were many more that actually starred young people learning hard lessons and dispensing advice about what you post and where you click. 

It is no surprise that the greatest majority of entries came from 2 of the 4 categories that contestants could enter their videos under: keeping a good rep online and staying away from unwanted contact.  While this contest does not statistically represent the public’s feelings toward Internet safety and young people, it does reflect what kids and adults are bombarded with in the news almost daily – sad stories of teens meeting up with total strangers they met online, being bullied by peers on Facebook, and being suspended for posting inappropriate photos on their profiles or sending them via cell phone.

The contest asked anyone over the age of 13 in the US and Canada to submit a video no more than 2 minutes in length that covered one of 4 topics:

  1. Keeping a good rep online
  2. Staying away from unwanted contact (cyberbullying, sexual predators)
  3. Accessing (legal) age-appropriate content
  4. Keeping the cybercriminals out

Our grand prize winner “Overexposed” was created by friends Nicholas Chen and Edan Freiberger.   Both are freshman at two different universities and felt the topic and the video concept resonated with them and people their age.  In a humorous way, “Overexposed” shows us how the main character is negatively impacted by the inconsistencies between how he represents himself online and how he attempts to represent himself in person.

I spoke with Chen last week after we notified him of winning.  He was of course thrilled for the team of people responsible for the video, and hoped that it could help raise awareness about Internet safety among more people.  When asked where the most energy should be put to keep kids safe online, Chen responded: 

“There are already elementary school programs in place that teach sex education and abstinence from drugs. However, it doesn’t take an expert to realize that it’s far more likely for a 4th grader to be using the Internet than to be having sex or using drugs! …Internet safety educational programs must be put in place at elementary and middle schools…[since] some children are already growing up using the Internet on a daily basis without any formal education of how to use it safely.”

All 5 winners shared similar sentiments, and we thank them and all the contestants for the part they have already played towards educating the public.

Internet safety education will always be necessary, since the technology we create and embrace changes rapidly.   We at Trend Micro and the other sponsoring organizations of the “What’s Your Story?” contest – Common Sense Media, Connectsafely, and the Identity Theft Resource Center – realize there is still much work to be done to raise awareness of the issues.   There were many great videos that came forth from this contest that we encourage parents, schools, anyone to use to help get the messages across.  They’re not the only tools available out there, but they are a good way to start the conversation.

To view all the contest winners, finalists, and honorable mentions, go to: whatsyourstory.trendmicro.com

And for more safety tips and advice on how to keep your kids & families safe online, go to: 

www.trendmicro.com/go/safety

www.commonsensemedia.org

www.connectsafely.org

www.idtheftcenter.org

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