Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Growing Up Online


On Tuesday night, January 22, 2008, “Frontline” featured a provocative documentary on our youth’s addiction to cyberspace. Most upsetting were features of one young boy who committed suicide after experiencing cyberbullying and gaining access to sites on ways to commit suicide, a young female teen with an eating disorder who fixated on feeding her disorder by reading online blogs and starvation sites, and teens who openly exposed their reckless behavior through YouTube videos and Facebook and MySpace profiles. If you missed this special, here is a link to the PBS website with more information: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/kidsonline/?campaign=pbshomefeatures_1_frontlinebrgrowinguponline_2008-01-23

If your time is limited, at least click on the link found at the PBS site to read the “Introduction” about the show and to get a glimpse of what the program covered. The photo included with this blog is from the PBS.org website featuring information on the program.

Please post your comment on teens’ addictions to the world of cyberspace and online communications as well as any responses to the PBS web recaps or the program itself if you caught it.

9 comments:

tina miller said...

I saw this show and first of all was fascinated by the thought that a whole generation has grown up with computers and online and what that means. I was first introduced to MySpace a couple of years ago when I did my case study for EDUC 503 Adolescence and talked to 13 year olds who had MySpace accounts. This was about the same time that all of the controversy begin around it. When I saw some of the things on the site I told my girlfriend abouthem but she did not seem to be alarmed about the impact on her daughter.
I also saw Dr Phil a couple of weeks agao where they talked about girls exposing themselves on YouTube being drunk and how some felt it was okay and some were very concerned that the things you do now will follow you for the rest of your life so you need to make wise deciaions about what you put online and think about is it something you want your mother or even a future employer to see.

In terms of what I found most disturbing about the progam, the suicide and the anorexia stories were definitely the top two but the teacher who felt that using an online site like Spark Notes to write papers and get info about books without reading them was equally distrurbing. As a future teacher, I am alram that kids make such casual decisions about the info they're going to use and the source of that info as well as some teachers indicating that it's okay to do it. I could go on and on about the show but enough.

Tony Ruiz said...

As the program referred to, "this is the new frontier." What grew my attention is the lack of parental guidance, care or responsibility (you choose the word) there seem to be. Like the student who was speaking on the tube, "hey, my mom is not here and I can be as loud as I want." She then cranks up the stereo and lip-sings out loud.

Are kids using this medium as a way to connect with people. If parents are not home or show lack of interests in their kids, then is this a way of kids "shouting out" that they matter?

I believe that this may be the case, so if nobody is there, then anything goes in the online world because no one is monitoring it. Sadly, there are many "socially unstable" people waiting on the sidelines to take advantage of that and prey on the innocent.

As far as spark notes is concern, well I think that's an extension of plagerism. However, these days many people just CP (i.e. copy and paste) stuff quicker than before. The belief is that noboby is going to read it, so why invest time on research. The issue is there anybody teaching kids how to gather info and express their own feelings without plagerizing from some other source.

Anonymous said...

Melissa Jordan said.....
This documentary I hoped served as an eye opener to many people and parents but then again some parents also feel that something would never happen their child. I remember growing up and going to school and it was a privelige to get 15 minutes on the one computer in the classroom to play pacman. To this day I use computers as a mode of communication and work and do little exploring on the internet. Unfortunately, most people younger than me can naviagte the system better than I can. Myspace has turned society into a different kind of person. I think the reason why it has gained so much popularity is that anyone can be who they want to be on the internet and there are not enough checks and balances.

I do agree with Tina and find it disturbing what some people are using the internet for. Some of my students even passed in papers that were directly printed off the internet or went to bookreport.com and entered the book title, paid a fee and a term paper was printed for them. Lucky for me they were caught and some of them don't understand why copying serves as a ground of dismissal since it is not their own work. Wikipedia is a site in which anyone can write anything they want on any subject, some people go to the website looking for answers on different health topics or concerns and has caused some of the public to be alarmed about what maybe wrong when in fact the information is not correct.
It amazes me to think that kids now a days come home from school and go on the computer rather than go play outside. Besides putting themselves at possible danger this is one of the causes of the obesity epidemic.
I do think more needs to be done to control who has access to the internet, how much, for how long and how we can make the internet a safer place not only for our children but for everyone.

Debbie Tager said...

I watched the documentary and found that while the stories were sad in some cases and disturbing in others, that none of it was particularly suprising. Maybe this is because I have grown up with the internet and I remembering being grounded from AOL when I got in trouble, but there is a very strong cultural side to all this.

Teenagers and young adults have no other outlets to be themselves - and that is what I thought was the first of two important points about this doumentary: youth today are in search of their identity - they are generally overloaded with activities or the pressure to achieve before they really know who they are - and the internet becomes their outlet. I am not saying whether this is good or bad, but that it is what is taking place.

The second most important point of this documentary was that parents need to be in charge of what their kids are doing whether it is on- or off-line. I liked the idea of a mom having her kid's passwords in sealed envelopes in the event that their behavior warrants such a search. Kids are simply that, kids - they need guidance and direction as they navigate these arenas of life. Parents have a responsibility to know how to navigate the techonologies that their children navigate; as we have seen, their lives depend on it.

Tony Ruiz said...

As the program referred to, "this is the new frontier." What got my attention is the lack of parental guidance, care or responsibility (you choose the word) there seem to be. Like the student who was speaking on the tube, "hey, it's 3 a.m., my mom is not here and I can be as loud as I want." She then cranks up the stereo and lip-sings out loud.

Are kids using this medium as a way to connect with people? If parents are not home or show lack of interests in their kids, then is this a way of kids "shouting out" that they matter?

I believe that this may be the case, so if nobody is there, then anything goes in the online world because no one is monitoring it. Sadly, there are many "socially unstable" people waiting on the sidelines to take advantage of the innocent.

As far as spark notes is concern, well I think that's an extension of plagerism. However, these days many people just CP (i.e. copy and paste) stuff quicker than before. They believe is that noboby is going to read it, so why invest time on research. The issue is there anybody teaching kids how to gather info and express their own feelings on paper without plagerizing from some other source.

Mlelissa said...

Melissa Jordan Said.....

This is quite a scary yet intersting topic that I think too many parents what to think does not pertain to their children. Like Tony said, there needs to be better parental controls and guidance. Maybe more direction from a national standpoint for everyone to follow or state guidelines. More and more children are getting into problems by exploring way to many places on the computer. It leads to a question, how do they know these sites and to access them. They are learning from somewhere or is it though simple searches. I think if we know the answer to this question it should be better able to guide us in tightening rules and regulations.
As for typing papers. I ran into this problem last semester when one of my students used bookreport.com and another decided to copy and paste information and leaving the URL on the pasted portion. The students need to understand the importance and severity of this infarction because it can cause them to be dismissed from an entire school. I do think we need to do more as a society to stop this addictive personality

Sharon said...

I remember when I was in high school, the Internet had just started. I can remember spending hours online talking to friends and just "hanging out." I can see where these students are coming from. I was able to talk to many people and I would be able to do everything quickly. As I look at the new generation, I find myself finding positives and negatives about the Internet. It's scary to think that, as the video mentioned, there is no parent control. How can you? The amount of different ways in order to by pass any block is overwhelming. I can at least say that I know of several of these sights, because I too am part of facebook and myspace, but I have a life outside of the Internet. What scares me the most is that we are creating a society of socially inept children.

Last night I saw the movie "Untraceable." The movie is about a young adult who starts killing people in the Internet. The more people watched, the faster the victims died. Once the word got out about the site, it was impossible tostop people from checking it out. The reason I am refering to this film is because it is a possibility and the younger generation is far more knoweldgeable in the capabilities of the Internet. The murderer was basically untraceable because he was able to move through the Internet and have the government agencies fall behind. It could happen and it terrifies me how crazy our world has become for our children.

Debbie Tager said...

I was not shocked by the online activities of the kids featured in this documentary because I grew up online. When I got in trouble I was grounded from the computer, so I understand the desire these children - our students - have to be "connected."

What is important for us to realize, and a point that this documentary made clear, was that children are using the web as a way to define and redefine themselves. They are looking for an identity and trying on whatever seems appealing - however dangerous it may be. If they can find others to identify with (and it is almost impossible not to on the web) that is a step towards making critical decisions about who they are going to be.

Parents are the number one influence in their kids lives, a fact that trumps internet conversations, teenage friendships and even romance. I like the idea of parents having a sealed envelope of their kids names and passwords online in case their behavior warrants a search. It is the right and responsibility of parents to be able to navigate the websites their children are on. As we can see, their lives may depend on it.

Nicole G said...

Although I did not see the show I did some previewing through the introduction as well as the blog and cna only imagine what this documentary was about. I am 23 years old and can honestly say that I did grow up on the computer. My parents has strict rules, however, when they weren't around the rules did not apply. I did talk to strangers at time and although I was not enticed into poor situations or bullied it was definately not a safe place for me to be at the age of 13.
So much has changed, for me it was going into chatrooms now it is children going on to facebook, and my space and looking at highly inappropriate material. Although this is the generation of technology it does not mean that children should be ignored when using the computer. There needs to be rules and most definately blocks on home computers. It is sad to see how the internet has effected peoples lives poorly. There is another side though, look at all the benefits it has given us. With the good comes the bad and I feel with monitoring and proper rules for usage alot can be avoided within this technological age.

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