________________ CM . . . . Volume V Number 9 . . . . January 1, 1999

cover Caught in the Net: Exercising Caution and Critical Thinking on the Internet.

David Tennant (Director). Nathan Neumer, Lori Roth & George Johnson (Producers).
Montreal, PQ: National Film Board of Canada, 1997.
13 min. 37 sec., VHS, $29.95.
Order no. C9197 039.

Subject Headings:
Internet and children-Canada.
Internet-Moral and ethical aspects-Study and teaching-Canada.
Online chat groups-Canada.

Grades 7 and up / Ages 12 and up.
Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4

About a month ago, Adam, a teen, "met" Raven via an Internet discussion group on sex, and she "approached" him, suggesting that they continue their email conversation via a private chat room. Over the period they have been corresponding, Adam believes he has come to know Raven as they have shared more about themselves. Now Raven has invited Adam up to a secluded cabin on the weekend for their first face to face meeting. In the video, Adam is visited by his guardian "Angel," who appears in the form of a teenaged girl, and she asks him some tough questions. While the written email "voice" of Raven appears to be teen and female, Adam admits to Angel that he has not been truthful to Raven, and so "she" might not actually be what she has represented herself to be. Via a dream-like sequence, Angel presents a number of "news reports" in which sexual deviants have used the Net to lure their teenaged victims or teens have been hurt by explosives made from Net information. As well, Angel shows Adam how the Web has become the new communication channel of racists. As the video's title suggests, caution and critical thinking must be utilized in using the Net for it does contain some hidden dangers.

      While the news reports were fictionalized, the accompanying material explains that "they were all inspired by actual events." That same printed material, a "User's Guide," provides some suggestions for class/group activities to be used before and after viewing, some ideas for further "follow-up research and activities," a short glossary, a bibliography of further "Resources," and five "Internet Safety Tips." This short video is not didactic in its presentation, and, appropriately, it leaves many questions unanswered, a technique which should assist in generating the desired post-viewing discussion.

Highly recommended.

When not surfing the web, Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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ISSN 1201-9364