After watching the Frontline special “Growing Up Online” last night, I’m left with a couple of thoughts. First, it was not as doom and gloomy as the trailer suggested; in fact, by and large I think it was fairly balanced overall.  It pretty accurately described the challenges that educators face at this moment (despite the only 8 minutes allotted to the subject.) It refuted the idea that predators are sneaking our kids into the
night, and it gave a powerful portrait of the challenges that parents
perceive (real or not) as they watch their kids grow through a very
different adolescence than themselves.

And I think that was the major point that was driven home to me, that as much as I look at these social tools and “properties” as learning opportunities, as much as they are a part of my life, I understand them only from the viewpoint of an adult, one that came to the Internet and blogs and live streaming television with a pretty healthy sense of who I am and a well-developed and tested decision making process that made navigating these spaces fairly straightforward. As I much as I think I know about all of this, as I look at my own kids and try to imagine what they are graduating into online, I realize that I know very little. I can’t even imagine what it must be like for parents who really have no context for this discussion, which is another reason why schools have to make this a part of the way we do our business, and why we have to integrate what it means to live in this world throughout the curriculum, K-12, in every subject.

In case you’re interested, there is a live chat this morning at 11 am with the producers, and a host of other materials online.

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