Let me begin by saying I am a big fan of movies. Love to see them in the theatre or watching them on television. Unfortunately, with a family now I do not get to the theatre nearly as often as I would like. That has turned me to the wonderful world of Netflix. Having tons of movies, television shows, and documentaries to watch at my command is amazing. This new practice has keyed me onto watching documentaries and that is what this column is going to be about from now on.
For our first glimpse into DocuFlix, I chose Frontline: Growing up Online. It is by the television news magazine Frontline and it is discussing how today’s and future teenagers will never grow up without technology and being connected online. In a series of interviews, Frontline delves into the underbelly of online media.
The interviews run the gamut of teenagers themselves, some of whom use online social media to vent at their parents, everyone does this at some time. That is what social media is for. Others create a completely new persona that they would never be able to be in real life, allowing them freedom of expression and to showcase their abilities “anonymously”. Still others talk of how they only use it as a communication tool, getting home from school and then talking to their friends.
Overall the tone of this documentary is one of concern. Several of the interviewees were subject to online predators or bullying and the setting really made you think about the dangers of growing up online. I know when I was a teenager I was way more tech savvy than my parents were, and I was able to find information and give out information much more easily than they ever thought I could. That was ten to fifteen years ago. My son now, who is 19 months old, can already turn on the television, find his favorite show on Netflix, and turn it on. He can also turn on our laptop and play on it while talking on a cell phone. I know I was not able to do that then.
For Grab Bag Cinema, this lovely site, I was told I needed to give a bag score. For the informative capabilities along with the straight to the point, no-nonsense delivery, I will give Frontline: Growing up Online 4 bags. I think it could have been better if it had delved into some of the consequences of online living. As it was it kind of glossed over it, minus one instance, and gave the impression most teenagers new to block anyone looking for information on them that they did not know.
I do hope you try to see it. The documentary can be found on Netflix or online by searching for Frontline: Growing up Online. I look forward to continuing this column and will have another installment in a week or two for you to peruse.
See more of Joseph Gunter’s writing over at jgunter84.wordpress.com “BOOKS NEED TO BE READ; I NEED TO DO IT. Reading, writing, and the relationship between them.”