Hiding Online: Bandon students win prize for anti-cyberbulling video

15 May 2012

A team of Bandon transition year students have won €3,000 from cloud security company Trend Micro for their anti-cyberbullying web video.

As part of their Internet Safety for Kids & Families (ISKF) programme, Trend Micro created the ‘What’s Your Story?’ competition, which asked young entrants to explain how to stay safe online through poetry, songs, videos and artwork.

Schoolchildren across the country entered, but the girls from Coláiste na Toirbhirte, Bandon, Co Cork, were awarded the top prize today for ‘Hiding Online’, their two-minute video demonstrating the dangers of cyberbullying and how to combat them.

“Social networking plays such a big part of young people’s lives these days and this is what attracted our transition year class to working on a piece about cyber-bullying. It is simply very relevant and very real to young people everywhere and we really do need to raise more awareness about online safety and responsibility,” said Siobhan Fitzgerald, transition coordinator at the all-girl secondary school.

The judging panel, which consisted of key players in online safety in Ireland, also awarded prizes of €500 to Megan O’Reilly from Conna National School, Co Cork, for her ‘Safe Surf Code’ video; Maria Butt from Loreto College in Mullingar, Co Westmeath, for her poem, ‘Don’t share because they don’t care’; and John Carr from Mallow, Co Cork for his song, ‘Be Safe Rhyme’. The transition year class from Presentation Secondary School, Ballyphehane, Co Cork, received the school prize of €1,000 for their Fresh Prince-style rap song, ‘Don’t Talk to a Stranger’.

Promoting online safety

“This was the first year of the competition in Ireland, and the standard of entries from all over Ireland was exceptionally high ranging from fantastic songs, poems, drawings, videos, all focused on promoting online safety,” said Avril Ronan, senior operations manager for Trend Micro, which has its EMEA headquarters in Cork. “Trend Micro research shows that one-third of children aged 11 to 15 years admit to taking more risks online than in real life, so there’s never been a better time to remind children that the internet is a powerful tool and using it is an important life skill.”

You can check out all the submissions for the ‘What’s Your Story?’, including ‘Hiding Online’, on the Trend Micro sub-site. The winning video will be shown to other children as part of the ISKF programme, which has been shortlisted for the ICT Excellence Awards, to be announced on May 17.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.