If you could support someone better online, what would you do? Spread positivity in all your interactions, encourage them to talk to you if you noticed they weren’t themselves, get them to put down their phone? …or make a big red button to block trolls?
These were just some of the wonderful and enlightening ideas from the Childnet’s 2023 Film Competition finalists at its event this week. The competition is delivered as part of Childnet’s work in the UK Safer Internet Centre, and is part funded by Nominet and the Motion Picture Association.
Each year, the charity invites young people aged 7-18 across the UK to create a short film or storyboard focusing on a specific online safety theme. UK-based schools, colleges and youth groups were invited to create a two-minute film on this year’s topic: Time to talk! How can people support each other online?
The films give us valuable insight into the pressures that young people face, and the worries they have online. One recurring theme across the entries was online trolling and bullying and the negative impact this can have on a young person’s mental health. Our own research has also shown that 23.3% of young people in the UK have experienced trolling or abuse from strangers, and 19.6% have even been bullied by people that they know online.
But the films also give us a glimmer of hope. Many focused on the positive impact we can all make and how we can play our part in making everyone’s online experiences better. No matter our age, we can check up on those we know, spread positivity, and – as the finalists from Sileby Redlands Community Primary so eloquently put – “be the friend you wish you had”.
Events and competitions like these are important to understand, first-hand, the challenges young people face and how we can work together as an industry to tackle them. And encouraging bright sparks like these to make the digital world a better place is vital in building the kind of society we need for the future.
Watch all the finalists’ videos here.