PSA Challenge Combats Cyber Bullying
Professor Sharon Bolman kicked off the UAT 48-Hour PSA Challenge with a Zoom meeting to announce the secret subject of the Public Service Announcement (PSA). Once announced, participating students—working alone or in teams—had 48 hours to create a 60-second PSA, including the writing, filming, and editing of their final submissions.
The theme was chosen to combat cyber bulling, creating a PSA for cyber cheerleading. It’s common today to encounter cyber bullying, and the concept of cyber cheerleading is to shift the conversation. That doesn’t mean inflate each other’s egos, it means finding a way to encourage people to support each other online—essentially making a conscious effort to use the internet for good. Quite simply, if you see something bad happening online, you can be the one to bring the positivity. The overall goal is to instill good behaviors that will result in young people using the internet in a positive way.
“Cyber cheerleading was perfect,” noted Professor Bolman. “It’s a new concept so the students’ creativity was the guiding force behind the PSAs. I love what they came up with!”
Although the subject matter was serious, the PSAs were allowed to be funny, smart, friendly, or sincere, and no film making experience was required. “This challenge was designed to be something any student could participate in but specifically plays into the hands of our Digital Video (DV) majors,” said Professor Bolman.
On Sunday, October 18, UAT students presented their PSAs, and winners were chosen in 2 categories: Best Message (clarity of the cyber cheerleading meaning) and Best #TechRespect (showing off technology). Both winning teams were comprised of DV majors.
Tre Payne’s team won Best Message. “The people who worked on this project were Cristina Ahumada, Alexandra Raipe, Eddeja Watts, Jasmin Darden, Lucas Rattigan, and myself,” Tre said. “We know how hard it is to become a content creator on the internet, so we wanted to show that good feedback will give a person motivation and courage to keep trying and succeed,” he explained about their PSA concept. “Just small comments towards people you do not know can alter their entire day, even their lives. If we all do this, the internet will be a great, friendly, and positive environment for the years to come!”
Tre’s Team PSA:
Joshua Velasquez’s team was the winner of the Best #TechRespect category. “I worked on this project alongside Bryson Moss, another freshman starting his first semester,” Joshua said.
Joshua described the PSA by sharing: “The video starts out with a guitar player being confident in wanting to play a song to upload online, but as soon as he gets situated in his room and takes a deep breath, in his head he feels like he’s on stage with an empty audience that gradually grows within time. That’s why he’s playing bad at first,” he continued, “because he’s nervous and can’t concentrate—the negativity then gets to him and brings him down—but once someone compliments him, he relaxes and starts playing better.”
“I wanted the message to be that yes no matter where you go, there’s always going to be someone out there online or even in person trying to upset you or bringing you down, no matter what the reason is,” Joshua said, “but our focus shouldn’t be on them, but rather the friends and community that keep cheering us on.”
Joshua’s Team PSA:
Professor Bolman was really proud of the winners! “I love them both and am really pleased that they did such a good job with a difficult theme,” she said.
UAT welcomes you to share these PSAs and continue the conversation around cyber cheerleading to make the internet a safer, more welcoming place for all.