Last month, we launched the 2nd annual “What’s Your Story?” competition, an international user-generated video contest that empowers youth to be leaders in educating others about being safe online. We are now in the final week for entries, which can be submitted until April 5. Videos can continue to be viewed and rated by the public until April 12.
As a reminder, anyone 13 and older, including schools, in Canada, the UK and the U.S. can create a video educating their peers about the safe and responsible use of the Internet. The goal of the contest is to help parents, teachers and youth become more aware of Internet safety issues so young people can be safe and responsible online.
The winning video will be awarded a grand prize of $10,000. Additionally, there will be 6 runner-up prizes for the best 3 schools and best 3 individual entries in each contest category. It is a combination of views, ratings, and ultimately the judge’s panel that will determine the winners. The judges also intend to use the winning entries (as we did last year) for educational purposes in various forums and events around the world. (This year’s judges include Common Sense Media, Connectsafely, Facebook, MyYearbook and WebWise Kids.)
The contest follows the same structure as last year: submit a video, get the word out about it and get the number of views and ratings up. The crowd-sourcing element of the contest encourages contestants to become advocates of their own messages to their peers, family, and friends; it also inherently promotes a positive use of the Internet.
However, given the shift in public discourse and attention to issues such as cyberbullying, privacy, and sexting, we changed this year’s contest categories to reflect the areas where we felt there was a greater need for education and awareness. The three contest categories for 2011 include:
- Being a Good Online Citizen
- Using a Cell Phone Wisely
- Maintaining Your Online Privacy
For more background information on why we chose these categories, see my earlier post.
A Contest for Everyone
The contest rules require you to be 13 or older to submit an entry or to register for the site. However, those younger than 13 can still participate with their parent or teacher’s supervision (and registration).
Additionally, those who do not choose to compete can still help determine the winners. Simply visit the contest site, register, and then view and rate the video entries. (Registration is not required to view, but is required to rate and comment on any videos). All 2011 video entries can be seen at http://whatsyourstory.trendmicro.com/internet-safety/Gallery.do
Why This Matters
With the growth in technology use by kids beginning at younger ages – at home and in the classroom – there is an increased need to raise awareness about the safe and responsible use of the Internet. News headlines alone over the last year are unfortunately creating anxiety among many adults about kids and the Internet.
We cannot forget that using the Internet is not a hobby or option for young people. It is an important life skill. So parents and teachers must both be involved in teaching them to use it safely and responsibly. We believe that this contest gives everyone an opportunity to have that dialogue (as contestants or viewers/raters) in an engaging and creative way. We saw this happen in last year’s contest, and we have seen it again this year as the contest has unfolded over the last several weeks.
It’s not too late to be part of “What’s Your Story?” this year. Take a look at the competition. Get inspiration from last year’s winners. Help out a contestant that you think has driven the message home. However you choose to participate does not matter. As long as you do.
Take a few minutes and look at what this year’s contestants have already done @ http://whatsyourstory.trendmicro.com