Lessons and activities encourage critical viewing of the Internet and evaluation of the sexual messages being conveyed. Themes include: online chatting, confession culture and blogs, explicit spam.
Hackers: From Geek to Chic
Through a critical viewing of the films participants examine how pop culture’s perception of the hacker has changed from hapless nerd to sexy, rebellious hero who takes on the establishment. Films discussed: WarGames, Hackers, and The Matrix.
After listening to two brief audio reports on the subject, participants discuss the prevalence of spam, and how much of it is of a sexual or inappropriate nature. Youth then create a timeline for the recent history of legislation and lawsuits involving spam.
Debate: The Good and Bad of Filters
After reading and discussing different opinions on internet filters, youth hold a debate. Focus on how, in effort to block inappropriate or adult materials, filters may also block important educational information on sexual identity and health.
Blogging and Confessional Culture
After reading an article chronicling the daily life of bloggers, participants examine and discuss how blogging allows teens to feel like they are part of community, while still maintaining their individualism.
Research Project: Internet Porn and Kids
After listening to an in-depth report from NPR, youth examine and discuss the legal, technological and moral issues surrounding internet pornography and kids, then write a short research paper.
You’ve Got Mail: Relationships in the Age of Cyberspace
After discussing different forms of non face-to-face communication, from instant messaging to email, participants examine both the risk of misrepresentation and the increased ease of honesty in relationships developed through word-exchange only. Youth exchange letters with classmates as an experiment in personal expression and communication.
Online Catwalk: Fashion on the Web
Participants explore and examine websites showcasing the work of couture fashion designers, and discuss how presenting fashion on the web is materially different from a runway show. The use of websites to attract young audiences is also discussed.