Take Ctrl ⇧ Shift Habits Essay Contest Winners

With the slogan “Together for a better internet”, the Safer Internet Day (SID) this 2023 – its 20th edition – is celebrated around the world on February 7. To provide a space for young Filipinos to make their voices heard on matters relating to their security, wellbeing, and human rights in the digital world, Out of The Box Media Literacy (OOTB) organized an essay writing contest for high school students under their “Take Ctrl ⇧ Shift Habits” program. 

Over 80 students from 40 high schools nationwide answered the question, “How should Internet platforms deal with harmful online content in a way that ensures the proper balance with the right to freedom of expression and other human rights?”

As the Internet becomes more and more accessible, concern for children’s exposure to age-inappropriate and risky content online has further intensified. While there are already steps being taken by governments, international bodies, and digital platforms themselves to regulate media content and practices, increased transparency, inclusivity, and respect for human rights must be thoroughly monitored and championed by the public. 

The winning essays of the Take Ctrl ⇧ Shift Habits contest showcase Filipino youth’s perspectives on combating disinformation, the complexities of the right to free speech, and social media platforms’ regulatory mechanisms. Each essay is complemented with artworks by Cartoonist ZACH and Isang Tasang Kape. 

The First Place winner is Grade 11 student Mary Treb Hibaya of Saint Mary’s Academy – Pasay City. Joshua Tristeza (Grade 12) of Mandurriao National High School in Iloilo City took the second spot while Anika Mei Cunanan (Grade 11) of the University of Santo Tomas won third place. 

The essay submissions were judged by digital rights and media literacy experts from the program’s partner organizations, Foundation for Media Alternatives, Yabong Philippines, and EngageMedia.

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