“Growing up Online” on PBS’ Frontline


UPDATE: The program has aired and you can read my review.

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Clif Mims is a Christian, husband, father, teacher, cancer warrior, and fan of the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Memphis Grizzlies.

11 thoughts on ““Growing up Online” on PBS’ Frontline”

  1. I watched this program with my high school students (minus the Autumn Edows part, a bit too risque for the classroom). Afterwards we had a discussion. Their comments were thought provoking. One of my guide questions was about where the responsibility of teaching Internet ethics lies. They were divided between parents (who may not know how to use the programs) and the school system that provides Internet access and often requires using the Internet. Our conversation is far from over. We will be revisiting some of these topics throughout the semester.

  2. It was a mediocre program. I was losing interest fast because there are so many other issues that weren’t even touched with this program, such as gang promotion and young girls/boys soliciting sex/drugs.

    The idea that adults don’t give children credit for being smart enough to ignore online predators is incredulous! If this is true then we can just stop parenting altogether. Kids can just take care of themselves. They will all say no to drugs because they are well aware of the dangers. They will not join gangs. They will grow into responsible young adults on their own. We know this is not the case. Children still need and desire guidance.

    It seems to me that we don’t want children anymore. We would rather have mini-adults. I think it’s a problem when you have children in middle school walking around with cell phones, headed home to bedrooms equipped with webcams and other additions not required to research or complete homework assignments. I think we put children in the awkward position of trying to prove that they can do everything we do, which may include drinking, drugging, promiscuity and the commission of crimes. If more adults were honest about what their children see them do, they would say that they don’t want their children doing a lot of the things they do! Unsupervised computer usage is a good way for a bad parent to feel good about not monitoring their child.

  3. I thought it was very interesting, in light of some things I have personally witnessed both at the high school and college level. Generally speaking, young people do not think before they post. What used to be a note passed in class or a private one-on-one phone conversation is now on walls and written in comments for friends and friends of friends to see. They think other people won’t possibly see these things, but somehow they always do.

    I don’t think Frontline necessarily needed to discuss all of the good things about technology because those are obvious to anyone who uses it. You almost have to have reached a certain maturity level before joining MySpace, Facebook, online chats, etc. because you have to be able to handle whatever happens. Like they said, kids will do things online that they wouldn’t do face-to-face, which is so much worse.

    I would also like to hear more about the effects of technology usage in the classroom and when to limit it. It was interesting to hear from both sides of the spectrum – the teacher who uses technology to the fullest extent and the teacher who does everything “old school.” Again, it seems like there are benefits to both.

  4. I’ll keep these points in mind as I watch the program. I’d enjoy discussing this further after the program has aired.

  5. I was interviewed for this film and am very concerned by its marketing. It seems as if the film will focus mostly on the scary side of the internet, and its value for education will be dismissed as merely a vehicle for a faster version of cliff notes.

    It’s sort of like discussing a field trip to New York City with parents. Are you going to highlight crime and the red light district or are you going to discuss the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Carnegie Hall?

    Well we all know what sells, and PBS is not immune. And like those clips provided to corporate sponsors that are now long enough to be considered commercials, this is just another way in which PBS is not much different than commercial media.

  6. Unfortunately, just as they happen offline, there are many horror stories about how the Internet plays a role in these horrific events. It is so very sad. Just like real life, there are many good stories to tell as well, but of course most mainstream media doesn’t pick up on it. I recently wrote a post about the Harry Potter fandom (most of whom are part of that demographic) who have used the Internet and social media not only to feed their Harry Potter obsession, but to raise awareness, money, and to take action to make the world a better place… check it out: http://tinyurl.com/2e9989

    The Internet does provide anothe way for kids to become victims – but it also provides so much more – communits of interest, connections, access to information, and knowledge on a global scale. Our challenge as parents (and communities) is to pay attention and be present and engaged as much as possible in their lives. I know that is not an “answer” but it is the best I can do…

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