On January 22, 2008 FRONTLINE aired a program called Growing Up Online.FRONTLINE producer Rachel Dretzin investigated the "risks, realities and misconceptions of teenage self-expression on the World Wide Web." If you saw it, do you have any residual comments, clarifications reactions as an avid user of technology in education? If you didn't see it, you can view it here

Tags: bullying, cyber, frontline, identity, internet, online, pbs, predators, sexual, teens

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Thanks for starting this discussion! I've been telling EVERYONE I know to watch it, and I think it was really important for parents (not just teachers) to see. I'm planning to do a blog post about it, but have to really get my mind around it first, so I'm waiting a bit to determine my full reaction (and to read through my notes I was trying to type during the show!). Here's my current state of mind regarding the show:

1) some of the parents in the show were extremely ignorant of the activities of their children, BUT - that's the reality, that's how many parents are. We need to come to a solution (and there are many wonderful organizations working on this, Parry Aftab's Wired Safety being just one of them) for how to best educate parents about the online activities of their children. Problem is, we'll have to teach some parents how to use a computer, first. No disrespect intended, it's just reality - computer-literacy is NOT a given.
2) I think they did an ok job of showing that the "online world" is not something to be afraid of, but something to monitor and try to take advantage of
3) I really have to come to terms with this reality when thinking of my children growing up - I'm really conflicted on this because I'm online a LOT and find it extremely valuable, so it's hard to say that I don't want my kids on - just have to figure out a way to get across the permanence of online interactions.

Sorry for the ramblings, am obviously still working these thoughts out! Can't wait to hear more views on this!
I'm in the same place...working thoughts out. I recorded it and will watch again, maybe with a new perspective. This discussion will probably evolve slowly, over time but with hopes that it forces us all to take a deep look at the "unintended consequences" of wired technology even as we embrace 'learning 2.0'.
I understand better now why it seems to me that the teenagers I teach are less able to focus for extended periods of time. I've been teaching for over 25 years. I thought it was because of TV and the commercial breaks every ten minutes or so. I didn't realize that the internet made even ten minutes an eon. Wow.
Just wanted to share my excitement. Thanks to the Internet I have connected with a classroom teacher in Milwaukee, Matt Montagne who is using a wikispace to connect with parents in his school. That in itself is really exciting. I live in St. Catharines, ON CA
Last night I participated in a session lead by a Matt. We watched “Growing up online” together.
While it was being televised we had set up a Skype instant messaging conference going on between ourselves and his grade 8 classroom parents . I was able to share comments and views about the program with the teacher and the parents while we watched.
It was even more challenging for Matt as the program was not being broadcast here in St. Catharines. Inventive teacher – set up his web camera – and used it to broadcast the program to me on my computer using ustream. I have attached a picture of my desktop to show you what it looked like. Technology talks!! The parents really related to the program. An interesting comment from one of the parents " that mother has a lot of other issues with her son and it is not about the use of the Internet. "
I can't tell you enough what a great experience is to share ideas with the Classroom 2.0 community
How cool!
Double "how cool", I admire your ability to think far enough ahead to plan something like this. I've getting ready to watch it now, on DVR.
My only concern or gripe with the program is that unfortunately, just as bad things happen offline, there are many horror stories about how the Internet plays a role in horrific events. And the bad is so very sad. However, 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.

The Internet does provide another way for kids to become victims - but it also provides so much more - communities of interest, connections, access to information, and knowledge on a global scale. Our challenge as parents and teachers is to pay attention and be present and engaged as much as possible in their lives. I know that is not an the end all but we certainly will not be able to stop the digital movement so we better get on board and keep up with the kids.
I felt the title of the show was misleading. When I think about growing up online, I think about kids social networking, blogging, e-mailing friends, podcasting/vodcasting, etc. While I appreciate the awareness the documentary made about internet safety and how certain teens could pursue sites of dangerous interest(s), I think the documentary could have focused more on the positive, or could have been broken down into various segments over a few show viewings to focus on the big picture, kids are growing up on the net.

When I think of children growing up online, I am reminded of a post by Miguel Guhlin entitled, Alone in the Middle. Miguel's daughter wrote a story on kidpub and two children, a brother and sister, from rural Tennessee contacted her to see if they could turn her story into a cartoon movie on YouTube. Miguel approved and you can find the video here. However, check out the behind the scenes video, it reminds me of how the lives of children are forever changed by computers and an internet connection. Watching this will make you smile. Kids are growing up with computers, they're online and they're doing great things.
When I first saw this episode of Frontline I was very disturbed. Then I visited the school in New Jersey where they interviewed and filmed the students, talked with some of them, the teachers and a few administrators and got another side of the story. I now have several of the teachers in the building enrolled in my 21st Century Learning Initiative.

I feel that there is more to the story than Frontline portrayed and that Chatham High School may have been perceived in a negative light when in fact they have given their students wonderful opportunities that many of us only wish our high schools would let us give in our classes.

I wish there were a follow-up episode in the works as to how to accomodate the fast-paced changes in the technologies available to teens and how we should prepare them to make wise decisions independently.



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