Can you imagine a world without the Internet? It doesn’t bear thinking about. We spend so much of our lives online today that it’s well and truly woven into the fabric of society – for better and worse. While the Internet can make us happier, more productive, more sociable creatures, it’s not all positive. As a cybersecurity firm, Trend Micro spends much of its time dealing with the darker corners of the online world – with the hackers, cyberbullies and scammers.
So, if you had the chance, what would you change about the Internet? That’s the theme of this year’s Trend Micro What’s Your Story competition. If you’re a K-12 student or filmmaker, we’d love you to tell us your story – and enter for a chance to win a $10,000 grand prize.
More than 320 million of us in North America enjoy the wonders of the online world. It connects us instantly to our friends and family, whether they’re just around the corner or on the other side of the planet. It keeps us entertained with music, videos and games. It’s like wandering through the biggest library on the planet – a source of information on anything you could possibly imagine. And at the same time, it’s the biggest shopping mall in the world – a place where we can buy almost anything from around the globe at the click of a mouse.
But let’s be honest. Just like the real world, there are things that we encounter online that we’d rather not. Some are illegal and pose a serious threat to our well being while others are no more than an irritant. Here are just a few:
Hackers: At Trend Micro we know plenty about these guys. In fact, we blocked around 60 billion cyber threats from hackers last year alone. They might be financially motivated cybercriminals, publicity-seeking hacktivists or even state-sponsored spies. But collectively they’re a huge burden on the Internet, stealing data, disrupting systems and scamming us out of money.
Trolls and cyberbullies: A product of the social media revolution, these malevolent netizens can cause serious distress through their targeting of individuals with their thoughtless comments and online harassment.
Spam and fake news: As wonderful a source of knowledge and empowerment as the Internet is, it’s also full of falsehoods and junk. We’re getting better at filtering out the latter. But Internet users and providers need to be more focused on halting the spread of false news before it seriously impacts our confidence in the web as a source of information.
Privacy challenges: There are laws designed to protect our privacy online. But both netizens and organizations have been slow to adapt. Oversharing online could play into the hands of the cyberbullies and the fraudsters. But on the other side, service providers must make sure they limit and secure any information they hold on us.
What’s Your Story?
So, if you could change one thing about the Internet, what would it be? And how would you change it? Pick up a camera and tell us your story. Be as creative as you like – and don’t forget to share your finished video with as many people as possible.
What’s Your Story is now in its eighth year and we’re all looking forward to seeing the fruits of your labor. For Trend Micro it’s been a great way over the years to help promote online safety and security, by empowering kids to share their experiences and teach their peers about how to use technology responsibly. After all, these are the people that will be using, managing and securing the Internet for years to come.