Online safety by young people with Childnet Film Competition 2021

May 11, 2021
By Will Gardner

In his blog, Childnet International CEO Will Gardner outlines how the charity’s Film Competition provides ‘online safety in disguise’…

If you want to brighten your day, take a look at some of the short films that have won The Childnet Film Competition in previous years. It has been 12 years since we launched the first Film Competition, and we have seen children’s creativity consistently inspire us year on year.

This year’s competition is now open for entries. Following the success of Safer Internet Day on February 9th – which reached 51% of UK children aged 8-17 – we are asking young people to create their short film or storyboard exploring the theme of: Separating fact from fiction – finding trustworthy information online.

Our Safer Internet Day research shows that on a daily basis many young people are making decisions on the trustworthiness of online content they see or are sent. Therefore, managing unreliable content is fundamental to being safe online as well as for looking after others online.

Consequently, this year’s Film Competition is another great opportunity for young people to play their part in helping to create a safer and more trustworthy internet.

The Competition is open to all schools and youth groups across the UK, and challenges young filmmakers to create a short film or storyboard on a given theme around online safety. As always, entries must contain a positive message and look to educate other young people.

The Film Competition provides a platform for young people to show their creative talents and inspire their peers to make positive decisions online. In fact, the focus has always been on creativity and filmmaking, and we have often referred to it as ‘online safety in disguise!’

Although it is in disguise, the learning required to think about how to project a message through film is such a good way to really embed key online safety messages for the creator. The fact that content is youth-made really helps it resonate and inspire other young people too.

Entering the competition – as a school, class or individual – is a tremendous way to lead those discussions, help to educate others, and empower young people to be better able to harness and use the positive power of the internet for good.

As always, I can’t wait to see all the wonderful short films and storyboards we receive!

Film Competition 2021 has a Primary category for 7–11 year olds, a Secondary category for 11-18 year olds, and a Storyboard category for anyone with artistic flair who prefers to draw their film idea.

We are so happy that Stan McCoy, President and Managing Director of the Motion Picture Association EMEA, is once again bringing his expertise and insight to the judging panel this year. And we would like to thank Stan and the MPA for their support.

Schools and youth groups have until Tuesday 1st June to submit film or storyboard entries, so start writing your scripts and click below for further information and some great filmmaking tips.



Will Gardner

CEO | Childnet International