December 24, 2012 / 11 Tevet 5773
Eden Lerer, a participant of Net@ Kiryat Shmona won first place in Israel in Google’s international “Screensavers” competition. She, together with other outstanding teenagers from around the world, will present her project at Google in London.
At the beginning of December, at Cinema City in Rishon LeTzion, a ceremony was held to celebrate Google’s “Screensavers” initiative in partnership with ERAN and the Israeli Internet Association. The aim of the initiative is to encourage safe internet surfing. This is an issue that concerns parents the world over, and Google turned to the youth themselves to develop technologies and social platforms that might curb some of the dangers that online surfers may face.
The Net@ project, which operates in 15 localities in Israel's periphery, is an initiative that works with over 1,000 students to close the digital divide between Israel's internationally recognized high-tech industry on the one hand, and members of disadvantaged populations in Israel on the other. Net@ runs in partnership with The Jewish Agency, Keren HaYesod, and The Appleseed Academy (Tapuah). Cisco Systems, the media giant, developed the curriculum, and enables students to be tested and receive international certification.
The project empowers youth via high-tech and social leadership skills: together with being trained as computer and new media professionals, the project also runs social interactive tracks where participants learn tools for personal development, management, time-management, management at work and within a team, understanding themselves and their communities.
When Net@ heard of Google's "Screensavers" initiative, they realized this was an ideal opportunity for participants to combine the computer and social skills they had learned. They signed on to the initiative's Facebook page, and began their individual projects.
Eden Lerer, a second year participant of the Net@ program in Kiryat Shmona and volunteer at FIXIT, emerged as the overall winner with first place in Israel's section of the Exceptional Projects. Eden’s prize will be a visit to Google in London and a chance to present her project to the new-media giant.
At the prize-giving ceremony in Rishon LeTzion, Eden plucked the first place out of 100 other Israeli teenagers who took place in the event and presented their final completed projects.
At the prize-giving ceremony in Rishon LeTzion, the first prize was awarded to Eden's project. Eden created a video about cyber-bullying. She edited various teenagers' reactions to bullying over the internet. The video was distributed by QR code as well as through various social media streams and on Orly and Guy’s (a popular Israeli morning television show) Facebook page. It received over 3,000 views.
Eden also gave a lecture to the other competitors about the subject of safe-surfing and afterwards, conducted a survey questioning participants as to ways in which they would intervene if they were to encounter bullying online.
The judges said that: "Eden is, without doubt, a participant with ambition, who strongly believes in the subject of safe internet surfing. She conducted research about bullying, and within the framework of the project, prepared the video and promoted it on different channels online." Eden also prepared a lecture and lesson-plan to accompany her video, and she said that she already has been booked to present a number of lectures at schools all the way until February.
The judges added, “The video, combined with her desire to pass it on, and to further education in this area and the public relations that she managed to create, were the reason that Eden won the first prize.”