Young people praised for showcasing important online safety messages through film

11 Jul 2023 UK SIC

A selection of short online safety films, recognized and rewarded at the Childnet Film Competition last week, have been praised by industry experts for showcasing the importance of online safety and promoting the voice of children.

The films, produced by a number of primary and secondary school students nationwide, highlighted a range of key online safety messaging issues – following the theme of “Time to Talk!”

Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre and CEO of Childnet, Will Gardner said: “These films show that young people want to make a difference through promoting online safety and have an important voice to be heard.

“These brilliant films represent the ideas and wants for young people in this space and it’s clear they’re thinking proactively about the issues they, and their peers, face on a daily basis. These films are of value to other young people, parents and carers, professionals working with children and policy makers, including those involved in discussion on the Online Safety Bill.”

Judges of the film competition, which took place on Tuesday 4 July, included a former film competition winner alongside representatives from The British Film Institute (BFI), BAFTA, BBC, British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), Motion Picture Association and The Walt Disney Company.

Speaking after the event on London’s Southbank, in which Burnham Market Primary School and Milton Abbey School were crowned victorious, Head of UK Learning Programmes at the BFI, Mark Reid said messaging was important: “It’s always inspiring when you invite children to take an issue seriously and they always pick up whatever the theme is and make it fun but they’re also very clear about the messaging and the purpose of the films they’ve been asked to create and I think that came across really strongly. These are causes they care about because they experience them themselves and I think that came across in a really engaging way.”

Jim Filippatos, Vice President of Global Public Policy at Walt Disney Company, said: “Online safety is a consequential issue for young people and it’s affecting their lives on a daily basis. They take these questions and issues that are important to them and their peers and to be able to talk about them in this very open and safe way I think is a gift to them and to us as the judges because we learn so much about how we can all work together to advance a hugely important issue.”

CEO of the BBFC, David Austin echoed the sentiments of his fellow judges, adding: “Film truly is a mass medium and to choose it to express the really important things they want to say is fantastic. These films are going to be appearing online and, with their BBFC classification, in cinemas so they’re very accessible to so many young people across the UK that will be able to see these important messages.”

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