For ParentsFor Teachers

From cyberbullying to online reputations to cell phones, ‘What’s Your Story?’

By Lynette Owens

The world’s current obsession with kids and technology is understandably rooted in the fear of the unknown and is further fueled by the media’s sensationalization of “kids gone wild” stories that are true but rarely happen.

Additionally, with everything from new technology to rising celebrities to breaking news constantly trying to command at least 30 seconds of our attention, it is very hard to see some of the great things kids may be doing to make their online world a better one.

The only thing we hear is: the Internet is scary and kids shouldn’t be there.

Yes, bad things do happen online, I am not trivializing this fact by any stretch.  But sometimes, most of the time, good stuff happens, too.

That’s why we are happy to announce that our 3rd annual ‘What’s Your Story?’ video contest is now open for entries.  For a third time, we want to hear what young people have to say about issues related to their safety and responsibility online.  For another year, we will award the best entry with $10,000 and runner-up prizes to the best individual and school entries.  We hope to again see some powerful, creative work that can bring to life these issues so others can learn.  If the last two years serves as any predictor of the third, we believe young people have a lot to say on these matters and they want and need to be heard.

Last year’s grand prize winner in particular, named “Where Are You?” has been highly praised and demanded by schools, youth advocacy groups, government organizations and law enforcement groups around the world.  In 2 minutes and in a very modern edge that mixes slam poetry with clever visuals, the speaker helps us understand we have choices online and there are consequences to those choices. 

We honestly believe we could not have said it better ourselves.

I have been struck by the numerous calls I get from groups asking for permission to use the videos that have won in the past.  The comment I usually hear is: we scoured the web for something we could use, and these really spoke to us.  They show things as they really are, as young people see them.

The credit belongs entirely to the contestants.

Once again, we’ll give them the stage. And then get out of the way.

We’re incredibly grateful that others feel as we do, and are proud to stand with the following organizations who will judge and support this year’s contest:

  • Common Sense Media
  • ConnectSafely
  • The Cyberbullying Research Center
  • Facebook
  • The Identity Theft Resource Center
  • Office of the Privacy Commissioner – Ontario
  • Twitter
  • The Wireless Foundation
  • Yahoo! Safely

Below is more detail about the 2012 ‘What’s Your Story?’ video contest:

  • Contestants must be 13 or older and residents of the U.S. or Canada (excluding Quebec).
  • Contestants should submit a video (30 seconds to 2 minutes) addressing one of the following:
    • Take action against bullying: How would you help a friend being bullied online?
    • Keep a good rep online: What’s the right way to share?
    • Be cell smart: How can someone new to cell phones use it wisely?
  • Entries must be received by April 3, 2012 midnight Pacific.
  • Winners are chosen based on a combination of number of views and ratings, as well as the input of an independent panel of judges.
  • Winners will be announced on or around May 8, 2012.
  • The prizes:
    • 1 Grand Prize: $10,000 USD (or Canadian equivalent)
    • 6 Runner-up prizes of $1,000 each
      • 3 for the best school entry in each entry category
      • 3 for the best individual entry in each entry category

For the complete set of official rules and to see “Where Are You?” , go to:

Follow contest updates:

on Facebook @

on myYearbook @

on Twitter @WYScontest

Or follow Lynette @lynettetowens

Tags :cyberbullyingdigital citizenshipdigital literacyFacebookinternet safetymobileonline safetyprivacysocial networkingtwitteryahoo

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