Enabling young people to take the lead in creating a better internet

Posted on 04 November 2015

Since our inception in 1995, we have set out to empower children, families and schools in the digital age by giving young people, and those that support them, the knowledge and skills to navigate the online environment safely and responsibly.

Childnet has always believed that it is important to promote the interests of children, not simply by seeking to protect them but also by empowering them, listening to them and giving them opportunities to take the lead in creating a better internet.

The Childnet Film Competition is one way we have continued to do this.  Launching in 2010, the Childnet Film Competition has encouraged young people from primary and secondary schools from across the UK to create short films to educate their peers about staying safe online. 

This year secondary schools were given the opportunity to illustrate another part of their digital lives, as we teamed up with UK premium rate services regulator PhonepayPlus to introduce the PhoneBrain category.   Aimed at 11 – 18 year olds the PhoneBrain category invited young people to create a 2 minute film to inform others about ways you can use your phone to pay for and use services safely without running up high bills.  It provided a fun, creative way for young people to take the lead in educating their peers about extra costs on mobiles.  

As Jo Prowse, Chief Executive from PhonepayPlus said:

“PhoneBrain educates young people about premium rate services including the costs involved and how to make use of them without getting charged more than expected. This year by working with Childnet we have been able to engage with even more young people on how they can use their smartphones safely and confidently without unexpectedly incurring high bills.”

The competition proved more popular than ever with over 130 entries across the three categories, primary, secondary and PhoneBrain. 

As Evie and Amy, two of the young people who entered the PhoneBrain category, said:

“We were excited and decided to enter, making a short film about phone bills and phone costs. We both enjoyed the editing mostly, and using green-screen to make it look more professional. During the project we learnt about how you can get hidden bills in apps and in game charges which you often don’t expect. We really enjoyed taking part and hope that we have a simple message that we put over in a style that makes a serious warning come across in a more informal and even humorous way. We are really glad we took the time to make our short film!”

The Childnet Film Competition along with other recent projects like the Childnet Digital Leaders Programme prove that young people are powerful agents in creating a better internet. With support from organisations like PhonepayPlus we are able to continue to create initiatives that empower young people to play a key role in shaping the internet for the better.

The Childnet Film Competition is featured in our 20th anniversary report.  To read the full report visit: http://www.childnet.com/what-we-do/20-years-of-childnets-work

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