Me and My 500 "Friends": Staying Safe on Social Networks
Running Time: 20 Minutes
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This timely program provides teens with an essential safety primer on using social networks such as Facebook. Through interviews with experts and real-life young people, teens learn that social networks can be a useful tool for communication and connection, but also pose significant risks. Experts discuss how harmful rumors can be spread quickly as well as the danger of cyberbullying, or harassment that occurs through the internet, cell phones, and other technology. The risks of "sexting," or posting sexually explicit images or materials online, are also covered. Viewers see how "phishers" and identity thieves can glean private information from what you post on social profiles; finally, the risk of encountering sexual predators is emphasized. The program provides important, easy-to-follow rules for keeping information-and oneself-safe while using social networks.
video, plus teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format
CINE Golden Eagle
Starred Review Social networking is a fun and popular way for teens to expand their world of friends and feel connected. However, social networking is “not a place where privacy is possible.” Using real-life examples and featuring teen host Samara Amat and nicely shot interviews, this alerts teens to the potential risks of utting themselves out there on Facebook and other sites. Rumors spread quickly, bullying becomes faceless, reputations are easily tarnished, and sexual predators can hide their true identities. It’s a cyberjungle out there! Teens tell of instances where social sites have hurt rather than helped. Brent, who now identifies as gay, was bullied and called homophobic names, and Allie sent her boyfriend a nude photo that went viral and ruined her reputation. The saddest story is that of Arkansas teen Kacie Woody, who was abducted and killed by a 47-year-old man (who said he was 17 years old) she met on Facebook. Kacie’s father and her best friend achingly recount the events. A compassionate psychologist emphasizes precautions that should be taken to stay safe and briefly discusses legal and privacy issues. Short interviews, teen comments, and dramatizations are sprinkled throughout this teen-friendly program, which concludes with a list of commonsense advice. This well-paced, expertly produced must-have video includes a 36-page PDF teachers’ guide.
- Debra McLeod
Designed for grades 7 through college, this concise program combines relevant commentary, specific examples, and interviews with real young people as it examines the risks of social networking. The new social media—accessed through computers, smart phones, and online gaming—has joined people worldwide in rewarding activities, but has also opened the door for bullying, rumors, and misrepresentation. Featured vignettes focus on various situations, from being tormented online about being gay, to a girl forwarding a topless photo to an ex (who spread it to others), while a segment on teen Kacie Woody, who was abducted and killed by a predator she met online in 2002, underscores the real possible dangers of social networking. Offering helpful precautionary tips (including notifying parets, website administrators, or police if you feel threatened), adhering to stringent privacy settings, and looking out for others Me and My 500 “Friends” serves up a timely and necessary reminder about using common sense online. DVD extras include a PDF teacher’s guide. Recommended.
- J. Williams-Wood
The virtual world is impossible to keep tabs on. And, as anyone who works with teens knows, a permeating sense of naïve invincibility is a cornerstone of adolescent brain development, so a cautionary video such as this is bound to cause some snickering when watched in a group setting. That said, thanks in large part to several disturbing live commentaries, it will also seize the attention of viewers. The graphic component, which is comprised of a simulated blue light computer screen and various search engine replicas, borders on the juvenile. These visuals are kept to a minimum, however, and the bulk of the presentation wisely vacillates between commentary by teen host, Samara Amat, the credible expert explanations provided by Elisabeth Englander, PhD, and particularly poignant student testimonials regarding the pros and cons of life plugged in. As their stories illustrate, surfing social networks provides an open forum for individuals from all walks of life, and may serve as a needed vocal outlet for many a teen. This particular perk, however, doesn't come without a price, a fact that the video deftly demonstrates via alarming tales of bullying, harassment, kidnapping, rape, and murder. These segments are so shocking that they may strike some viewers as over the top by way of a "Scared Straight!" episode. However, these tales will hit home with teens: sharing too much information online is dangerous. The video concludes with a succinct overview of precautionary tips for staying safe online.
- Anna Taylor, Teen Librarian, Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, WI
School Library Journal
Recommended The timely topic of social networks and the issues of privacy and safety are handled in an interesting and age-appropriate manner in this film. A narrator introduces the topic, with students shown speaking to the camera and in real-life scenarios. The adult expert, a psychologist, appears several times throughout the film to offer advice and explanations.
The clever use of graphics is a plus. Icons, computer screens with the familiar social networking "look," words typed into search engines – these all reflect the theme as well as provide captivating visuals for the viewers.
Problems associated with social networks, such as bullying, the spreading of rumors, communication problems, and the speed of interaction, become real through several true-life stories that are narrated by the teens affected. The cautions are strongly stated, with emphasis on the lack of privacy on social networks, possible legal implications, the effects on one's reputation, and especially safety. Survivors relate a chilling story about a teen girl whose online relationship turned deadly through an encounter with a sexual predator. The film provides information, clearly stated, on how to keep safe.
This film would be ideal for the target-age audience in almost any class where these issues are discussed. Public libraries may also want to consider purchase for their patrons of this age and parents of teens. A Teacher's Guide is included on the disk as a PDF file, with pre- and post-tests, learning objectives, fact sheets, and activity sheets.
- Mary Northrup, Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods, Kansas City Missouri
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)