Computer security company 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 who are 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 that 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, though 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 and blogs. Judges will take into account the 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 nonprofit 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: