InRealLife is a new documentary looking at the impact of the internet on the lives of teenagers – who have never known a world without always-on web connected devices.
Interspersing a selection of stories about online celebrity, porn addiction, cyber-bullying and more, the film also tries to find out what ‘the cloud’ really is – and what is being done with all the data that is being volunteered and collected by large companies every day. There are interviews with such luminaries as Julian Assange, Jimmy Wales and Nicholas Negroponte (who tells us he remembers a time when he literally knew everybody using the internet, in its infancy) – who talk about surveillance, loss of privacy and the enormous social changes that the web has brought about.
The Cookie Collective also made a small contribution, and gained a listing in the credits as a result. We provided some data and insight into the work of tracking cookies, drawn of course from the huge Cookiepedia database.
I got to see the film this week at an advance screening at the Institute of Contemporary Arts – where we also we able to engage in a Q&A session with the director, Beeban Kidron and arts and culture journalist Mark Lawson.
Although a little contrived in one or two places (the first real world meeting between two teenage boys who had been dating online for a couple of years felt like it had been set up for the cameras), it was nevertheless an eye-opening and informative film. It is not always easy to watch but I would highly recommend it. Perhaps parents and their teenagers should watch it together – it would almost certainly result in ‘discussions’ that may not otherwise take place.
The film is getting cinema release this weekend, but I can also foresee that the DVD, with all sorts of potential extras, would gain the widest audience. I understand there are already talks with schools and the potential for educational uses of the film are obvious.
It deserves to be widely seen, and will particularly appeal to parents who feel out of their depth and want to get an insight into what their children might be doing online.
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