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Reflexión ética: Growing Up Online


Esta actividad debe realizarse después de haber visto el video “Growing Up Online” de la serie “Frontline” producida por la PBS en 2008.

En equipos de hasta cuatro personas, seleccionen cinco preguntas de la sección Discussion Questions. Discutan las preguntas y respóndanlas de manera consensuada. Elaboren un documento PDF que contenga sus respuestas. No olviden incluir en dicho documento el nombre y matrícula de cada uno de los integrantes del equipo.

Solo se requiere que un miembro del equipo realice la entrega.

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Para entregar el documento PDF, ingresa los siguientes datos:

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Discussion Questions

The following questions were taken from the document Growing Up Online: A Study Guide for Teachers.

PART 1: Internet in the Home

Viewers are introduced to Morris City, N.J., where most teens spend time online talking with friends on social networking sites, playing games and doing homework. Parents appear to be absent from these virtual worlds. Use these questions with the program chapter Living Their Lives Essentially Online.

  1. A survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that in 2004, 67 percent of parents said the Internet has been a good thing for their children. However, this number decreased to 59 percent in 2006. Why do you think the number of parents who reported the Internet being a good thing for their children has decreased?
  2. In the opening of the program, we see boys gathering to collaboratively play a military-style videogame. What characteristics of a computer make it different from other media in the home, such as television, videogames, stereo/radio, magazines and books? How do these characteristics influence:

    • How the computer is used in the home?
    • Who uses the computer?
    • Where the computer is placed?
    • How much the computer is used?
  3. In the introduction to the program, the narrator says: “This is Morris County, N.J., but it could be anywhere in America. Here, like in the rest of the country, some 90 percent of teenagers are online, a number that’s still growing.” From what you saw in the film, is Morris County indicative of a typical American community? Why or why not? Is it like your community?
  4. Documentary programs, because they depict real people and real issues, are often framed as “the truth.” But documentary producers make decisions about how to tell a story just like producers of other media messages. Remember to take a step back and think about the decisions the producers made. Some questions to consider:

    • Who produced this film?
    • Why did they produce it?
    • Who is the target audience, and what techniques are used to appeal to that audience?
    • Whose voices do we hear in the program; that is, who is portrayed, and what are their stories? Whose voices are left out — who do we hear less of or not at all?
    • What questions did the producers leave unasked? If you could interview one of the people featured in the documentary, what would you ask?

PART 2: Digital Media in Schools

At school, teachers are dealing with using new technologies in the classroom. Some teachers are eager adopters of technology, while others are hesitant and feel uncomfortable. Use these questions with the program chapter A Revolution in Classrooms and Social Life.

  1. More teachers are using tools to try to detect cheating or deter students’ inclination to cheat. In the program, we see the use of plagiarism-detection tools like and writing assignments completed during class time to make sure students do their own work and generate their own ideas. In terms of student writing, what are some different types of “cheating”? What are the elements you would include in your definition of “cheating”?
  2. One teacher in the program says, “We almost have to be entertainers.” If we think of an entertainer as an actor, musician, dancer or someone who performs, in what ways is your favorite teacher like an entertainer? In what ways is he or she unlike — or different from — an entertainer? What are the positive and negative consequences of expecting teachers to be entertaining?
  3. One student claims he “never reads books” but relies on summaries and annotated notes he finds on Web sites. He confesses that he feels guilty about this, stating, “I feel like I kind of cheated it.” Should he feel guilty? Why or why not?
  4. In the program, we see teachers using digital technology for their presentations. How do students use digital media in school? In what grade levels and in which types of classes are students most likely to use digital media for learning? What types of uses are most and least common? Why?

PART 3: Social Networking — Keeping in Touch

Today, kids “hang out” and talk with friends in virtual spaces through instant messaging, text messaging, chat rooms and social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. Use these questions with the program chapter A Revolution in Classrooms and Social Life.

  1. One teen describes MySpace and Facebook as fun because they are “a section of the Internet that’s your own.” How is a profile — an online space — similar to and different from other parts of the world that are your own, like your bedroom, school locker or diary?
  2. As shown in the program, social networking sites can be used as a way to “talk junk,” insult others or hash out conflicts. Is fighting online a relatively safe way to express negative emotions in responding to others (without having to deal with them face to face)? Or does online fighting do more harm than good?
  3. The program describes social networking sites as places where kids post pictures, accumulate friends, post messages to others and describe themselves. What other kinds of things do teens and young adults do on social networking sites that aren’t mentioned?
  4. Girls describe how online name calling among different groups escalated to physical violence between girls in a school cafeteria. The event was videotaped by students and posted to YouTube. From the list below, choose three of the following groups. Explain the similarities and differences in how the fight video would function for each group — and how these groups might perceive the video.

    • The girls who were fighting in the video
    • The person who filmed it and uploaded it
    • Other students in the school
    • Teachers and administrators at the school
    • Parents of the girls who were fighting
    • Parents of students who were in the cafeteria at the time
    • Law enforcement in the community
    • Teens who viewed the video online — but are from a different school or area
    • MTV market researchers
    • YouTube’s advertising sales department
    • A high school student in China who will soon be an exchange student in a U.S. high school

PART 4: Identity Play

Jessica Long, the shy girl next door, creates a new identity online as the popular Autumn Edows. The Internet allows young people to express themselves, experiment with different perspectives, and play with aspects of their identity. Use these questions with the program chapter Self Expression, Trying On New Identities.

  1. Some teens, like Autumn Edows, feel like they can be someone else online. Sara, however, mentioned that while she has to play a role in real life, she can be more authentic online. What do you feel when you’re online? Can you be more real and authentic, who you really are, or do you enjoy feeling like you’re someone else, or playing around with your identity?
  2. When you think of stuff to post on your profile, who is the main audience you’re communicating to? Who are other potential audiences that might be viewing, but that you might not think of when you post things?
  3. In the program, teens are shown talking about the photos of themselves that they post online. Some people may post images of themselves looking like musicians, models or celebrities. Profiles may perpetuate stereotypes of others because we only get a glimpse of them through their photographs, their interests in music and movies, and pictures and comments from their friends. Do you think it is easier to stereotype people online than in real life? Why or why not? What information does a photograph tell about a person? What information does a person’s music selections provide? How do popular culture and the mass media affect people’s selection of different types of images and music for their profiles?
  4. Before the Internet, in order to be seen by the world, you had to be portrayed in some form of mass media, and you had to be famous in some respect — in the news, in politics or as a celebrity. Now anyone can be seen online by anyone else in the world. Some people have become famous for videos or photos they’ve posted (such as Autumn Edows). What are the positive and negative consequences of blurring the line between being a celebrity and a regular person?

PART 5: Parenting, Privacy and Control

Parents are challenged in managing their kids’ media use and are anxious about online predators, what their kids post online, and whether their kids are engaging in harmful online behavior. Use these questions with the program chapters The Child Predator Fear and Private Worlds Outside Parents’ Reach?

  1. In the program, we see parents who are actively monitoring teens’ online use and other parents who are not. What factors play a role in whether or not a parent will be involved in monitoring teens’ online media use? From your point of view, what forms of involvement are most useful? Least useful?
  2. Shows like “To Catch a Predator” on Dateline NBC contribute to parental anxiety about online media. What elements of this FRONTLINE program are likely to increase parents’ fears? What elements of the program might be reassuring?
  3. Evan Skinner e-mailed parents in her community after she learned about the photos taken when her son and other students went to a rock concert and got drunk. Ryan Halligan’s dad contacted the parent of another teen whose Web site was full of suicidal thoughts and feelings. Why did they do this? What are some consequences of reaching out to other parents to share concerns?

PART 6: Online Relationships — Healthy or Unhealthy?

Some teens, such as Sara and Ryan Halligan, experienced the Internet in ways that were damaging. Sara was drawn to support sites for eating disorders, while Ryan experienced harassment through cyberbullying. In both cases, parents did not realize what was going on in their kids’ online worlds. Use these questions with the program chapters Private Worlds Outside Parents’ Reach? and Cyberbullying.

  1. Teens turn to the Internet to find information about health, such as changes the body goes through, nutrition, sexuality issues, mental and emotional issues, and substance abuse. A teen who’s seeking support for a problem might surf the Web for answers, bring up the problem in a chat room or blog post, put up a video or join an online support group. In the program, we see two teens using online media to find information and express damaging thoughts and behaviors. In Sara’s case, she found tips that supported and praised anorexic behavior by browsing and chatting on “ana” sites. After experiencing online and offline bullying, Ryan Halligan chatted with a friend about killing himself and learned about various ways to commit suicide. Why might someone be attracted to dangerous or unhealthy communication and Web sites with dangerous information? Why might someone want to create such sites?
  2. Teasing, lying, gossiping, threatening, spreading rumors or harassing online (and offline) can severely affect people’s self-concept and self-esteem and have an impact on their emotional state. In the program, we see one girl who describes flirting with boys and then revealing she was just kidding. She explains: “You wouldn’t do that to someone’s face, but online is completely different. ... No one can do anything. You’re at your house, they’re at their house.” What are some of the short- and longer-term consequences of this behavior for life online and in the real world?

PART 7: Post-Viewing

The program ends with high school graduation and some changes. Sara has received help for her eating disorder; Greg decides it’s time to disconnect from the Internet as he starts college; and Autumn Edows’ parents are supportive of her online identity. How do parents and teens better understand life online? Use these questions with the program chapter Updates.

  1. At the end of the program, we see the parents of Autumn Edows, who are now supportive of their daughter’s online identity. Her father says: “People say things about the Internet, and they talk about the danger. From where I stand, I’m glad it’s there.” But earlier in the show, we learned that they had made her delete the photos of herself from her computer. What must have happened to cause this dramatic shift in the parents’ thinking?
  2. At the end of the program, Greg decides it’s time for him to “disconnect” by going to the Coast Guard Academy, where he will spend seven weeks without cell phones or the Internet. Have you ever thought about “disconnecting” from it all? Do you think it would be easy or difficult? What would you enjoy or dislike about disconnecting?