Earlier this year, we ran a video contest called “What’s Your Story?” with the goal of engaging and educating young people on various topics related to their Internet safety.
One of the winning videos called “Pull the Plug on Bullying” is now showing through the month of November on the CBS Superscreen in New York City’s Times Square (once an hour, 18 hours a day). If you’re in New York this month, take a cab to 42nd Street and 7th Ave., walk west, and look up. (See below.) Thanks to our friends at Web Wise Kids for bringing us the opportunity to do this.
This video was created by two teens, Matt Bendo and KJ Proulx (pictured above in the Windsor Star), from Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada. As this week is National Bullying Awareness week in Canada, the video has also been circulated in the media throughout the country. (See stories in the CBC and the Windsor Star.)
While we have deliberately put effort into drawing attention to the video and more importantly to the message it sends, I think the real appeal is that it was created by two teens. In 36 seconds, Matt and KJ portray the impact of cyberbullying and more importantly the need for young people to take action if they see it or are a victim of it. I use this video (along with others from the contest) in presentations to different kinds of audiences for that reason. It gets the point across.
I firmly believe there is a positive impact to involving youth in the process of trying to keep them safe online. The Internet is a medium that millions of young people around the world are embracing in ways that many more parents and teachers still don’t fully understand (and fear). Their generation is heavily defined by their participation in social networks and their appetite for digital gadgets. Their attitude towards and deep familiarity with technology gives them a perspective on it that we need to include when we work on solutions to keeping them safe online. And what teen wants to listen to another lecture from an older person? Give them a turn on the stage, and their peers are more likely to listen.
See all the winners and finalists of the “What’s Your Story?” video competition.