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On Tuesday 3 July, we were honoured to attend the Childnet Film Competition Finalists' event at the BFI Southbank. Now in its ninth year, the competition invites young people to create a film around how we can make a positive difference online or ‘connect with respect'.
The over 200 entries received were eventually narrowed down to three films each in the Primary and Secondary categories for the event. The day itself consisted of a screening of all shortlisted films, along with interviews with the filmmakers after each one. The screenings were followed by the announcement of the winners.
Not only were the shortlisted films brilliantly made, but each one offered a unique perspective on how we can all strive to make the internet a better place. You can read a brief description of the films below, and you can watch all of the shortlisted films in full over on Childnet's website.
We know from our work in schools that peer-led education can be hugely impactful, and the films that these young people have created will be invaluable in spreading online safety messages across the UK.Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet
1st - Trinity Church of England School - Footprints
This film showed what it would be like if our online actions followed us about like footprints. The dialogue-free film was certainly the most cinematic of the day, featuring equally excellent music and special effects.
2nd - Grange Primary School - Connect with respect! A better internet starts with us!
With the help of an angel and demon, a boy wonders how to react online when not invited to a party. He ultimately decides to post something positive and gets invited as a result.
3rd - St Anne's Catholic Primary School - Connect with respect
This entry features a truly inspired rap on internet responsibility.
1st - Ferrers School - Game Over
This very original film presents the internet as a video game where you constantly have the choice to act with consideration online. Two scenarios play out involving a group of girls secretly filming another group dancing.
2nd - Queen Mary's Grammar School - A better Internet
Here, a fictional game vlogger talks about the abuse he has to suffer online and encourages people to just enjoy games. Whilst featuring just as important a message as the others, it was definitely the funniest and most tongue-in-cheek film that was shortlisted.
3rd - Esher Church of England High School - One Post
In this short, one member of a group of ‘mean girls' decides to go against her friends and leave a positive comment on someone's photo. After all, one post is often all it takes to make someone's day.
The films were judged by Lisa Prime, Children's Events Programmer at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA); Catherine McAllister, Head of Safeguarding and Child Protection BBC Children's; David Austin OBE, Chief Executive at the BBFC; and Joanna van der Meer, Film Tutor and Family Learning Programmer at BFI Southbank.
The films weren't the only important part of the day: Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries Margot James provided some fascinating insight on what the government is doing to improve the state of the internet for young people. She detailed how last year, the government presented an internet safety strategy that identified three main problem areas: behaviours on the internet don't hit basic standards of conduct; users often feel powerless; and tech companies are given too much oversight. A paper later this year will present concrete proposals and introduce a code of practice where users are more easily able to report abuse.
It's incredibly inspiring to see young people using their creativity through the Childnet Film Competition, highlighting how we all need to work together to make the online world a more respectful and pleasant place to be.Margot James, Minister of State for Digital and Creative Industries
Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet and a director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, explains the importance of Safer Internet Day and how to use film to get involved.
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