Review of Frontline’s “Growing up Online”

I watched the program last night. (PBS has made the full version of the program available online, along with extended clips, discussion boards, and a chat room.) Given all the chatter before the airing I found the program to be more balanced than I was expecting, but it was not without bias. Here are some of my random thoughts related to the program.

  • It cautioned that kids may be smarter and safer about online socializing than we think. Are they learning this from themselves, school, parents, media, or …?
  • The program dedicated more time to the use of technology for socializing rather than for educational purposes. I’d like to see a follow-up program deal with that topic.
  • I’m not sure that everything in the program is generalizable to the larger population. While the episode never overtly made any such claim it’s important that viewers not make that assumption.
  • There are excellent teachers that do not make any use of technology in the classrooms. The use of technology does not necessarily make one educational experience better than another.
  • The issue of parents’/ schools’ safety concerns and children’s privacy is one that deserves a great deal more consideration.

FRONTLINE: growing up online | PBS via kwout

Here’s what others are saying:

  1. Comments to my (Clif’s) initial post
  2. Infinitude: Part I, Part II
  3. Jennifer Maddrell
  4. Weblogg-ed: Post 1, Post 2
  5. Geeky Mom
  6. Nick Pernisco
  7. The Official Growing up Online Discussion Board

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

6 thoughts on “Review of Frontline’s “Growing up Online””

  1. I guess I was a little confused as to why it seemed that the documentary blamed the internet for underaged drinking, bullying, suicidal thoughts…those issues have been a part of the world long before the internet appeared. Kids can be mean and say hurtful things. There were bullies in the 70’s and 80’s when I was in elementary and high school. The only difference is that now they can say those things in digital form in addition to writing them in notes that are passed around at school, on the bathroom wall, or face-to-face on the playground.

    Growing up is a bit of a rollercoaster ride for most people….whether they were teenagers in the 60’s…or now. It takes some pretty good parenting skills to get kids through their teenage years and into adulthood. The statement that was made by several of the parents in the documentary was that they had no idea what their childrem were doing online. Guess what? Twenty years ago, parents could have said the same thing about hand written notes (that were the major form of communication for kids at that time) and phone calls. Parents have to find a way to be involved in their child’s life…without being too over the top. Much easier said than done…I know : )

  2. I have not seen the documentary but I intend to. I think your comment about children’s safety and privacy online resonates most with me. I would love for my daughter to be more “plugged in” than she is, but I fear for her safety from too much online exposure.

    The other item I was thinking about from your comments is the hype that surrounds new technologies and education. Did the documentary make any comparisons between learning online and other technologies that would “revolutionze” instruction but later seemed to fail to deliver?

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