For a class of mine we watched PBS’ “Frontline: Growing Up Online” and were then instructed to write about it in our blogs. The documentary chronicled children who were graduating from high school in 2007, just one year before I graduated high school. The children chronicled all spent a lot of time and energy devoted to the Internet for social, educational, romantic, and even self-expressing purposes. Naughty pictures, a world of eating disorders, bullying which lead to suicide with the help of an online partner, and of course the worried parents and professionals who are worried about the future of the young people were a couple of memorable moments of the documentary.
If anything, the Internet world my friends and I grew up in was even more involved with online experiences than the lives of these children were since not only did we have one more year worth of “growing up online”, but the Internet had one more year worth of growing up under its belt too. This made it a bit more interesting to watch the documentary because I was watching a movie from the stand point of the adults who put it together, while feeling more connected to the ideas of the children who just happened to be in it.
Of course the children all thought the worried and concerned parents and teachers were all being over dramatic and silly for having such concerns, and I remember agreeing with them. And I still do– even as an adult.
It is not that I think the Internet doesn’t have serious dangers and the potentiality to cause massive harm and problems, but like one of the interviewed professionals said in the documentary, “It isn’t going away; it’s a part of our society and world now. The best thing to do is to prepare our young people to handle it and use it in the best way possible.”
This I do agree with.
I would think that a better, more proactive way of dealing with the perceived dangers of the Internet, would be to learn about it so that you can teach the young people and guide them to use arguably one of the greatest inventions of all time, the Internet, is the most positive way possible.
I think the Internet is just like most things in life: you get out of it just about what you put into it. A person looking to do good things with it will find good things and good uses for it, and a person looking to do bad things with it will always find bad things to do with it.
Just like with the use of vehicles, medications, and (depending on who you talk to) guns, young people must be taught, shown, and guided on how to handle all sorts of situations which they are bound to encounter in the completely unknown, irrational, and always unpredictable life in which they simply were thrown into and expected to survive in.