Poetry, animation as tools to promote responsible internet use

Published February 22, 2021, 4:06 PM

by Jessica Pag-iwayan

Google collaborates with local poets and animators to promote internet etiquette and online safety

Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.

Edgar Degas

In general, the internet and social media offer a lot of features that benefit users. From connecting people and providing information to promoting creative works and advocacies. But digital technology is a double edged sword that can harm if not use properly. 

Numerous studies have shown that over exposure to social media may affect one’s health leading to anxiety and depression. To fight this and to promote digital responsibility among Filipinos, Google launches a collection of spoken word poetry and animated videos on its local YouTube channel

Co-created with the youth volunteers of Teach Peace Build Peace Movement (TPBPM), an NGO which aims to build peace online and in vulnerable communities nationwide, the video aims to help Filipinos become better netizens and be stewards of the internet. 

The themes of the YouTube videos are kindness, the value of strong passwords and online security, critical thinking, oversharing prevention, and courage online. With more than 40 million Filipinos active on YouTube, digital responsibility can be effectively taught to more people online using videos of creative expression. 

The spoken word poetry is written and produced by TiTik Poetry, a youth group from Cavite that strives to use words and art to create social impact.

“Poetry is powerful and we can use it as a tool to make the internet a safer place. Each of us has a unique talent or skill and if we use it for an important cause like digital responsibility, we can make a positive impact in the community,” says Verlin Santos, founder of Titik Poetry. 

The animated videos were illustrated and animated by Christwin Felix, a volunteer, who has been teaching multimedia arts for more than 10 years. Meanwhile, the stories were written by Grace Bufi, a housewife and a passionate storyteller. She, along with her husband Rey, established Basa Bookstore and The Storytelling Project, a non-profit organization that aims to spark hope, create inspiration, and provoke the imagination through storytelling.

Award-winning actor Dingdong Dantes provided the voice over for all the five animated videos playing the role of the “Badge Giver,” a character who explains the moral of the story. 

Sa panahon ngayon, napakahalaga ng responsableng paggamit ng internet (These days, responsible use of the internet is very important),” he says. “Gamit ang aming boses bilang mga miyembro ng entertainment industry, sana’y makatulong kami upang maitaas ang kaalaman ng lahat tungkol sa proper internet etiquette at online safety, lalung-lalo na sa mga kabataan (With our voice as members of local entertainment industry, we are hoping that this will help to educate everyone about proper internet etiquette and online safety, especially among the youth).” 

On Safer Internet Day of 2019, Google and TPBPM launched a campaign called Cyberpeace to teach, where at least 10,000 high school students learned about digital responsibility. Amid the pandemic, with the help of several volunteers, the campaign reached more than 416,000 netizens nationwide through digital means such as social media and webinars.