Three Ottawa high school friends are the first Canadian grand prize winners of Trend Micro‘s fourth annual “What’s Your Story?”, an international video contest promoting safety on line. “What’s Your Story?” an award-winning, user-generated video contest is an interactive platform for young people to showcase their creative talents, and harness the positive power, reach and connection through storytelling. The 2013 contest received entries from both individuals and schools across Canada and the United States answering the question, “What does the good side of the Internet look like?” for a chance to win one of two $10,000 grand prizes.
The Ottawa teens combined their poetry, music and film talents to share a powerful message about all the ways the Internet has impacted the world. Their winning video for the individual category, “I’m An Educated Dude,” by Saad Sifate, George Strawbridge, and David Oladejo, features David performing a slam style original poem addressing the opportunity for their generation to use the Internet for good.
“What’s Your Story?” empowers kids, parents, teachers and schools around the world to use technology in safe, responsible, and successful ways. The contest’s unique quality is that it requires young people to become educated about being safe and responsible online, but also encourages them to become advocates of their own messages.
“If we were to change one thing about how people behave online, we would wish that people acted responsibly and maturely. Cyberbullying is an issue that we hold close to our hearts. Those who bully think that just because that there is a screen separating them and their victim, they are bigger, stronger, and that their actions have no consequences. Cyberbullying needs to be stopped”, said Saad Sifate, age 16, in speaking for the group, all students at Colonel By Secondary School, after being notified of the judges’ decision.
“What’s Your Story is far more than a contest, it’s a way to engage today’s youth to play an active role in shaping their own worlds,” said Lynette Owens, Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids & Families director and founder. “We saw a great increase in the number of submissions from Canada this year and what I find most striking about many of this year’s entries is that any one of these videos could have been filmed anywhere in the world. The messages are universal.”
For this year’s judging process, Trend Micro Internet Safety for Kids & Families again teamed up with some of the world’s leading organizations that share Trend Micro’s vision and commitment toward Internet safety. The panel for 2013 included representatives from: MediaSmarts (based in Ottawa), the Center for Media and Child Health, Committee for Children, Common Sense Media, ConnectSafety, Cyberbullying Research Center, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo!
“We often hear about the troubling side of the Internet so it was great to see all these powerful videos by youth about how the Internet has changed their lives, and the world, in positive ways” said contest judge Cathy Wing, Co-Executive Director of the Ottawa-based MediaSmarts. “We’re definitely excited that a Canadian team of students has won this award as there were so many creative and thoughtful entries.”
Finalists were selected based on a combination of views and ratings. Winners were chosen by the judging panel based on creativity, appropriateness and effectiveness. The grand prize winners in both the school and individual categories receive $10,000, and the runners-up receive $1,000 each.