What’s real vs fake online? Young Wicklow competition winner has the answer

One of the biggest challenges facing parents in the Internet Age is the safety of their children within this virtual space. Thankfully, companies like Trend Micro have stepped up to the plate, providing solace and support through educational resources such as their free Internet Safety for Kids & Families (ISKF) programme.

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 Westmeath, Kerry, Tipperary, Dublin and Cork, it was Wicklow teen Felix Hodge Doherty (13) who scooped a category victory. The 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.

Avril Ronan, Trend Micro Global Programme Manager for Internet Safety for Kids and Families praised this year’s winners, saying: “The internet is an infinite source of information, yet the question is, do we critically evaluate it 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 the key to making informed choices.

Avril continued: “Our latest episode at the kids Cyber Academy focuses on misinformation – what it is, how it can be harmful to others and what to do about it. Arming your children with this knowledge and explaining the dangers surrounding misinformation enables them to be better equipped to navigate the internet in a safe and responsible way. And when it is done in a fun way with videos, quizzes and activity sheets, children don’t even realise the important educational and safety lesson they are absorbing.” To explore the Cyber Academy visit trendmicro.com/cyberacademy

If the What’s Your Story? winners are anything to go by, it appears that the next generation thankfully have their wits about them when it comes to finding their way around the world wide web.

Felix Hodge Doherty, winner of the Individual Category for 8-12 year-olds, is a prime example. His video, entitled ‘Computer Issues?’ emphasises the importance of taking a breath when using the internet and pausing before clicking on any suspicious links. Working independently on all aspects of the video, Felix created his winning entry by starting on the storyboarding, moving on to filming, and finishing with graphics, soundtrack and editing.

“I got a new camera for Christmas and I was dying for an opportunity to use it on something!” he said. “Then my dad sent me the details of this competition and I decided that it would be a good one to enter. It was a great opportunity to learn new stuff and just create things and get my ideas and projects out there. I’ve really enjoyed the whole experience.”

He added: “I plan on putting my €500 prizemoney towards a faster computer and getting a better monitor and set up! That will really make a huge difference to me.”

So impressive was the work of Felix and his fellow triumphant entrants, that they are being encouraged to give their creations another moment in the spotlight by entering the Media Literacy Ireland Awards.

The MLI Awards programme recognises and raises awareness of the great work being done in Ireland to promote media literacy. It has four award categories including the Best Youth-led Media Literacy Intervention category, which is being touted as another excellent platform for the budding filmmakers.

Commenting on this year’s incredible submissions, Martina Chapman, What’s Your Story Judge and 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.

Categories and Winners

Overall Winner (Prize – €2,000)

SCAMOUFLAGE: The Cyber Parasite – Karthik Sreekanth 

Critics’ Choice Award (Prize – €1,000)


Category Winners (Prize – €500 each)

School Category 8-12 yearsSuper Shampoo – By Miss Donegan’s Class, St Joseph’s NS, Ballyheigue, Kerry

Group Category 8-12 years: Hey, That’s My Money! – By Dramarama Cork, with animation from Liam Geary

Individual Category 8-12 yearsComputer Issues? – By Felix Hodge Doherty

Individual Category 13+: The Other Side – By Niamh and Eimear Lavery and filmed by Caoilfhinn Dunne

Individual Irish CategoryMúinteoir Micheál leis na bhfiricí – By Micheál Ó’CathailAs more and more children turn to the internet to learn and grow, it is Trend Micro’s mission to keep this a safe space.  For more information on how to stay safe online, to watch more What’s Your Story? 2023 entries, check out the Cyber Academy or to view on-demand content, visit https://whatsyourstory.trendmicro.ie/or follow the Trend Micro ISKF team online on Twitter @TrendISKF_IE or Facebook/TrendMicroEurope or Instagram @Trendmicroiskfeurope

If you have a story that you think the WicklowNews.Net readers and beyond should know about, we’d love for you to get in touch with us. Submit A Story

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