An annual highlight of Trend Micro’s ISKF programme – which in 2023 places focus on tackling media literacy and misinformation among kids and teens – is the What’s Your Story? video competition. The competition welcomes entries from both primary and secondary school students in the form of a two-minute video that can be created using live action, stop action, animation, original music and more. While the sky is the limit in terms of imagination and originality, each video must address a specific question, which this year asked: How do you know what’s real or fake online?
Entries for the 2023 competition spanned seven categories, including the newly added ‘Individual Irish Category’, which encouraged submissions entirely as Gaeilge. With interesting and thought-provoking shorts coming in from all corners of the country, including Wicklow, Westmeath, Kerry, Tipperary, Dublin and Cork, it was a difficult job to select the winners. This daunting task of choosing the category winners, along with the competition’s overall winner was down to a panel of expert judges from independent bodies such as Media Literacy Ireland (MLI), Webwise.ie, Cyber Safe Kids, Smart Futures and Young Irish Film Makers.
“The internet is an infinite source of information, yet the question is, do we critically evaluate the content we consume online for truthfulness and reliability? From suspicious emails and pop-ups to opinions and news stories that play fast and loose with the truth, each winning entry tackled misinformation with a thought-provoking perspective, creativity and humour. More importantly, they stressed the role of critical thinking; how we evaluate and question content online is after all is the key to making informed choices”.Avril Ronan, Trend Micro Global Programme Manager for Internet Safety for Kids and Families
Taking home the coveted title and prize as Overall Winner was first-time entrant, Karthik Sreekanth (16), a Transition Year student in Rockbrook Park School in Edmondstown. A lover of the art of visual storytelling, in just 2 short minutes Karthik gave viewers a deep dive in the world of digital fraudulence and misinformation to uncover the best ways to spot real from fake.
“As someone who would love to pursue higher level education in media and marketing fields this competition was great, and to go home the winner is just amazing. I found the topic very engaging, it felt very relatable and a useful subject for everyone. In a world where everyone’s attention spans are getting smaller and smaller, the opportunity to create a short, snappy, straight to the point video was my primary motivation. I would also have to mention the ridiculous prize of €2,000! The pacing of the video was very important to me as two minutes is not a lot of time at all. To pack so much into so little time was the biggest challenge in the entire project. I hope viewers learnt something from my piece and look forward to more of my videos…because there will be more!”Overall Winner, Karthik Sreekanth
Encouraging viewers to ‘Stop, Think & Check’ to avoid falling victim to online scams was Critics’ Choice Award winner Shane King (16) from Ballinagore, Co. Westmeath. With filming and acting assistance from sister Emma (14), younger brother Conor (11), and mum and dad – Aisling & Mark, this was not the first time Shane and his family scooped one of the What’s Your Story? prizes. The King Family also received the highest recognition in the Group Category in 2021, emerging as winners for their entry entitled ‘My Day the New Digital Way!’.
“It was an amazing surprise to be selected as a winner in 2021, so to go on to win in the Critic’s Choice category this year is something I’m so proud of!” commented Shane. “It’s such an important subject and I think that people of my age and younger need to be educated on what could go wrong when you’re online. I love that I got to raise awareness of that through this project, while also doing something really creative that my whole family could take part in and enjoy. We plan to spend the prize money on a new camera which will really help in creating top quality videos for future competitions and our own home productions. Anything left over will go towards our next family holiday.”Critics’ Choice Award Winner, Shane King
Commenting on this year’s incredible submissions, Martina Chapman, What’s Your Story Judge & National Coordinator for Media Literacy Ireland (MLI) said: “I was so impressed by the very high standard of the entries. Making a two-minute video that communicates a sometimes complex message is not easy, and it was wonderful to see how creative and engaging the entries were. We hope that the entrants, and other young people around the country, will also consider entering the MLI Awards which are open right now until the 10th of February. All information can be found at medialiteracyireland.ie/awards.”
Overall Winner (Prize – €2,000) SCAMOUFLAGE: The Cyber Parasite – Karthik Sreekanth
Critics’ Choice Award (Prize – €1,000) STOP, THINK, CHECK – Shane King
Category Winners (Prize – €500 each)
School Category 8-12 years: Super Shampoo – By Miss Donegan’s Class, St Joseph’s NS, Ballyheigue, Kerry
Group Category 8-12 years: Hey, That’s My Money! – By Liam Geary, Dramarama Cork,
Individual Category 8-12 years: Computer Issues? – By Felix Hodge Doherty
Individual Category 13+: The Other Side – By Niamh and Eimear Lavery and filmed by Caoilfhinn Dunne
Individual Irish Category: Múinteoir Micheál leis na bhfiricí – By Micheál Ó’Cathail
For more information on the winners and for the work that Trend Micro is doing in this area visit the ISKF programme page.