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growing up online

About the Film:

FRONTLINE takes viewers inside the private worlds that kids are creating online, raising important questions about how the Internet is transforming the experience of adolescence. At school, teachers are trying to figure out how to reach a generation that no longer reads books or newspapers. Fear of online predators has led teachers and parents to focus primarily on keeping kids safe online. But many young people think these fears are misplaced. Online media has also intensified the social dimensions of adolescence as teens create and play with identities on sites like MySpace and Facebook and encounter intense peer pressure in a variety of virtual worlds. Parents are confused about how to respond to the increasingly private worlds inhabited by their children, lacking an understanding of both the creative potential and the genuine risks of this new dimension of our cultural environment.

About the Resources

FRONTLINE had developed materials for teachers, parents and kids to accompany Growing Up Online. These resources include downloadable viewing guides for parent and for teachers that includes a seven-part discussion question section, lesson plans for the classroom, resources for building parent-teen online engagement, and a Cyberquiz: "What Kind of Cyber Guide are You?" that explores parents' media management styles.

Watching the Film:

Teachers can either assign the film for viewing as homework or show the film in class. Suggested discussion questions are provided, divided into sections that correspond to the chapters of the film. The lessons and activities in this guide can be used in the classroom without having viewed the film.

A Note to Teachers:

Although any teacher can use these lessons, library/media specialists, media teachers and teachers of health, sociology, English and history should find that these activities lead to meaningful student-based research and lively discussion. These activities are suitable for both high school and college students.

Discussion Questions:

This guide offers a comprehensive group of discussion questions divided into seven areas correlated with each chapter of Growing Up Online.

Featured Lesson Plan:

How Did MySpace Become Your Space?

Students investigate the history and economics of MySpace.

Lesson Objectives:

Students will:

Additional Lesson Ideas:

Compete with MySpace!: Design a New Site.
Students play the role of Web designer and create a layout for a site that competes with MySpace.

Take Action
Classroom Ideas That Build from the Discussion Questions


An annotated list of Web sites for parents and educators.

Purchasing the Film:

Growing Up Online can be purchased from Shop PBS for Teachers: Also, teachers and students can watch the program streamed in its entirety on FRONTLINE's Web site:


This Teacher's Guide, Cyber Quiz, and Viewer's Guide were written by Renee Hobbs and Kelly Mendoza at Temple University's Media Education Lab at the School of Communications and Theater in Philadelphia, Pa. ( Simone Bloom Nathan, Milton Chen and Faith Rogow served as members of the advisory team.