‘What’s Your Story” winning videos explore the good side of the Internet

For the past several years I’ve helped judge Trend Micro’s annual What’s Your Story video contest  which, in past years, focused on how to combat Internet risks like cyberbullying and inappropriate use of mobile technology. But this year, the contest had a more uplifting theme. Contestants were asked to create videos that addressed the question,  “What does the good side of the Internet look like?”

There were two $10,000 grand prize winners in two categories: individual (or a group of individuals) and schools.  The winners in the individual category were Saad Sifate, George Strawbridge, and David Oladejo, of Ottawa, Ontario. The school grand prize went to teacher Patty Ream’s class at Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School, of Ripley, Ohio.

Individual prize

Sifate, Stawbridge and Oadejo’s entry, “I’m an Educated Dude,” which took place in front of a graffiti covered wall in Ottawa, consisted of a poetic rap about the pros and cons of the Internet. I was a little worried that the group might have missed the mark when the lyrics began with, “Press down Ctrl H, all I see is hate, confidence deflate and less than civil debates.” But I lit up when he went on to rap, “But the forgotten message is that the Internet has a direct correlation to education communication and a supreme impact on our generation. Education is the key.” What impressed me was the way the video explored the nuances of the Internet and how you can transform bad into good.”The Internet is a composite and the parts that are negative are what can truly make it positive,” it concluded.  But my quotes don’t do it justice. Click here or below to see the two-minute video for yourself.

I'm an Educated Dude (two-minute video by Saad Sifate, George Strawbridge, and David Oladejo)

I’m an Educated Dude (two-minute video by Saad Sifate, George Strawbridge, and David Oladejo)

School entry

The school video, “The Legend of the Responsible Gamer,” begins with a teenage boy bad mouthing another online gamer “you’re so bad kids, why do you even play this game, why not do everyone else a favor and log off.”  But then the unthinkable happens. A hand reaches out from the monitor and pulls the young gamer into another world where he is greeted by a guy in what looks like a Jolly Green Giant outfit who — in a positive and very physical way — teaches him a lesson in humility as they go through an obstacle course together with some positive reminders like “it takes a much better person to encourage somebody rather than bash them down.” Click here or below to view the video.

Legend of the Responsible Gamer (Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School)

Legend of the Responsible Gamer (Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School)

Also see Digital wisdom from young filmmakers: “What’s Your Story?” winners from my ConnectSafely.org co-director, Anne Collier.


Internet safety video could win you $10K

Trend Micro giving away $10,000 to best Internet safety video (credit: Trend Micro)

Computer Security firm Trend Micro has an offer for any teen or adult who cares about Internet safety and security and wants to become an award winning filmmaker. The company has launched a contest called “What’s Your Story,” where the person who submits the best short video (no more than 2 minutes) can win $10,000. There are also four $500 prizes.

The deadline is April 30th and only residents of the U.S. and Canada 13 or older are eligible to win.

Entries must be about one of these four topics:

  • Keeping a good rep online (avoiding embarrassing photos, videos or postings)
  • Staying clear of unwanted contact (including bullies)
  • Accessing (legal) content that’s age-appropriate (avoiding sites are “offensive, violent, pornographic, full of foul language, or inappropriate for certain ages)
  • Keeping the cybercriminals out (computer security issues like identity theft, scams, spam, viruses and other bad stuff)

You don’t need a fancy video camera. A webcam, a cell phone video camera or something like the Cisco Flip Camera will do.

Although the contest is open to anyone over 13, I’m hoping there are lots of entries from teenagers. This is an opportunity for teens to share their own experiences and thoughts about Internet safety with their peers which can be a lot more effective than lectures from adults.  Still, parents, teachers and older students are also encouraged to enter but contributions from teens are strongly encouraged.

All submitted videos will be posted on the site after being checked for appropriateness.  People who submit are encouraged to promote their own videos with links on their social networking pages, blogs, etc.  Judges will consider number of views not only as a way of promoting awareness but also giving filmmakers real-world experience in marketing and promotion.

The contest’s website has sample videos to give contestants ideas.

Contest judges include representatives of non-profit Internet safety organizations including Common Sense Media, Identify Theft Resource Center and ConnectSafely.org where I serve as co-director. And yes, I’ll be one of the judges. (Trend Micro provides financial support to ConnectSafely.org.)

ConnectSafely can’t enter the contest, but here’s one we commissioned that I think is pretty funny: