The documentary is produced and directed by Chris Schueler and has been in development for more than a year. It will air on New Mexico PBS at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 on Channel 5.1.
“We wanted to work with kids all over the state,” Schueler says. “We got them to talk about social media and the Internet. We also talked to parents and saw the growing gap between how children use smartphones and how adults use them.”
Schueler says “Net-iquette” delves into how youth, also known as digital natives, have grown up in a cyber world that is seamlessly integrated with their daily lives. Most parents and other adults, also known as digital immigrants, are not completely familiar with all the various Internet apps, tools and sites that allow people to connect in good and bad ways.
He says many times children are more comfortable in that world than the adults who are supposed to look out for them.
The film is a comprehensive media campaign centered around a half-hour documentary. It is aimed to help people understand the potential dangers associated with use of the Internet and social media, from stalking and cyber-bullying to “sexting” and future employment issues.
“Unless you’re under the age of 20, you really don’t fully understand the world of social media and the Internet,” he says. “And the truth is, it’s an entirely different way to communicate that can be very effective, but also very dangerous.”
Schueler worked with SafeTeen New Mexico, a youth-driven nonprofit organization that creates in-school programs.
“This is crucial information for teens and for parents,” says Thom Turbett, president of the board of SafeTeen New Mexico. “And in addition to the full documentary that we’ll distribute to all the school districts and the PTAs, we have shorter training videos that can be used as well.”
Schueler says in making the documentary he found out more about the Internet and apps than he ever wanted to know.
“These kids know about 15 times more than I do,” he says. “They’ve grown up with this technology in their hands and this documentary is just trying to make parents and them aware of the dangers. They need to realize that once something is out on the Internet, it stays out there.”