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Internet Safety Video Produced with Ferris Foundation Grant Gains Regional Exposure

Ferris State University
CAPTIONS: Above and below are screen captures from the internet safety project produced collaboratively by a group that included individuals from two Ferris State University academic colleges.

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A collaborative effort involving programs in Ferris State University’s College of Business and the College of Arts, Sciences and Education has resulted in the production of an age-appropriate animated video, which seeks to help youngsters learn about staying safe while dealing with others online.

Computer Information Systems Assistant Professor Hira Herrington had secured an Exceptional Merit Grant from The Ferris Foundation, in 2018, to support the project, Keeping Kids Safe on the Internet. He turned to Social Work Assistant Professor Elizabeth Post, who had her students create a script for the project. Music and Entertainment Business Assistant Professor Paul Kwant led a group of students in producing music for the video and members of the Alpha Psi Omega theatre honor society, a campus registered student organization, provided voice-over talent for this work.

“I hope that The Ferris Foundation is pleased with the result, and early interest in this project,” Herrington said. “The video is a re-telling of the Aesop’s Fable, ‘The Wolf in Sheep’s Ferris State UniversityClothing.’ I feel that our collaborative efforts, which include posting tips that reinforce the video’s message, will allow adult leaders to have an organized discussion on this important topic with the second-and third-grade students who view it.”

Grand Rapids media outlets WZZM and WOTV have offered on-air and online coverage to inform their respective viewers and readers about the video, and its message.

“We are glad that the project is getting noticed,” Herrington said. “Northern Lakes Community Mental Health Authority, which serves a six-county area in the Lower Peninsula, plans to show this video on a loop in their office lobbies, so that parents and youngsters can become more aware of cyber predators.”

Alicia Drum was a student writer on this project, who also works for Northern Lake CMHA. She said her experience of mentoring a fourth-grade student helped to shape the content she produced for the video.

“Being able to learn about the things he liked and seeing how the students interacted with technology gave me some significant insights,” Drum said. “We initially thought to use a computer in the animated short, and after some discussion, we realized children don’t really use computers. They are on the move, in different locations with technology at their fingertips, using tablets or a smartphone. This also means that a lot less monitoring might be going on as a parent is in another room or even further away from where their child is communicating.”

Woodbury, Minnesota native Kathryn Meidt, a Computer Information Systems senior and departmental research assistant, served as the video’s narrator.

“It was great to collaborate with the other programs in the university. They had done a great deal of work before I became involved in the process,” Meidt said. “Everyone who took part was dedicated to making this the best, most informative video possible. I felt it had just the right structure to inform and serve its young audience. I could have benefited from seeing it as a child, and to know that I had a part in such a project was very rewarding.”

Herrington added that special thanks are appropriate to industry professionals who offered their skills at a discount to support this project.

“Duane Weed, of DW Video and Multimedia, LLC, a Ferris Television and Digital Media Production alumnus, produced and directed the video,” Herrington said. “The project was animated by Frank Krywicki, of Mission 3 Media, and we have had a number of compliments about the look and quality of this presentation.”

Sports Entertainment Hospitality Management adjunct instructor Karyn Kiio, who co-chairs Ferris’ Coalition Against Slavery also provided operational assistance to the video project.