The internet can be a scary place. Currently parents and news outlets have been full of Momo chatter, the hoax featuring a terrifyingly distorted woman’s face that attempts to induce children to self harm. Out of fear, parents have ended up scaring their children in an attempt to keep them safe from something that doesn’t exist.
“I’ve been hearing about it a lot at school, about bad things on the internet and Momo and even bad youtube videos for kids that show inappropriate stuff,” says Ava Ast, a grade four student from Begbie View Elementary.
“It made me want to start something that was good.”
With help from her parents, Ava launched her facebook page, Ava and Cello’s Good Deed Page. It features Ava and her stuffed sock monkey Cello, and it has set Ava on a path of creating something positive in a sometimes overwhelmingly negative environment.
Ava herself has limited online screen time. “She is allowed at school. That’s really about it,” says mum Lexie Ast. “She doesn’t have access to devices at home.”
For Lexie, keeping her daughter offline is one way to keep her safe. “It was a strange jump,” she explains, “with Ava not having access to facebook but still having her feature on it. In my internal dialogue, I figured that I already post pictures and videos of my kids, so as long as I moderated the page, it was something we could try out.”
So far, only a couple friends from school have seen it, but they enjoyed it. “I’m confident about what I am doing,” says Ava. “I’m not nervous about people at my school seeing it.”
So far, the content has included two videos, with a third being posted soon. “I talk about good deeds and bucket filling,” says Ava. “I interview my family members, so far my mom and sister, and I ask what good deed they have done today, or how they have filled someone’s bucket.”
“The entire process has been a learning experience about how involved it is to make even short home videos,” says Lexie.
“Yeah, there was one time when I was asking my little sister questions and she would just repeat what I was saying,” Ava agrees. “We have to do a lot of takes.”
In addition to creating positive content online, the project is also giving Ava a taste of life in front of the camera. She has long been interested in creative arts and acting, and she is learning there is a lot more to it than one would expect.
Ultimately, by highlighting the kindness of those she knows, Ava hopes the videos will inspire people to take a moment within their day to think outside of themselves. “Not everything is bad,” she says. “There is a lot of good out there.”