Internet Safety

The Social Network film image
The Social Network film image

A selection of films that deal with our relationship with the internet and how it influences us, such as how social media profiles make a real life impact on their users and addiction to online games. These films also open up debate around freedom of access to information online, whether there should be more regulation for younger web users, and protection of intellectual property.

Tron

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration92 mins

Tron(1982)

Visually peerless example of Hollywood coming to terms with computers, in which programmer Kevin Flynn get sucked into a game.

In Tron, the inner workings of computers are brought to vivid life, with characters representing commands, blockades, bugs, and pathways in a user’s journey towards information. The film also addresses issues of intellectual property, as Flynn’s popular games are stolen by his unscrupulous ex-boss, who has found a devious way to hide his crime.

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Ralph Breaks the Internet

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration112 mins

Ralph Breaks the Internet(2018)

Ralph and Vanellope must travel around the Internet via a newly installed Wi-Fi router in their arcade to locate a piece capable of saving their game.

In this gaming-themed sequel, the internet takes centre stage as Ralph finds out more about the technology behind it during his adventures. Encountering ads, search engines, auction sites, social media platforms and creating a viral video along the way, this serves as a neat and necessary introduction to the dangers and hazards of the internet, as well as its benefits.

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Harriet The Spy

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

Harriet The Spy(1996)

Excellent adaptation of the much-loved book about a girl who writes down everything she sees.

The story of Harriet demonstrates what can happen when private information is made public. This warning is relevant not only in the school playground but also on the internet where more and more social interaction between young people is taking place. The tale of Harriet will encourage children to think twice about information that they share.

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The Thief Lord

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration94 mins

The Thief Lord(2006)

Charming fantastical adventure following two orphaned brothers on the run from evil relatives.

The Thief Lord has a modern message for a young audience, encouraging them to consider in an age-appropriate way, the information presented to them online. The film tackles the issues of false identity, trust and deceit, helping children to recognise the need to be wary of people who they meet online.

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The Social Network

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration115 mins

The Social Network(2010)

Riveting biopic of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and the legal challenge he's faced with after being accused of stealing the idea.

Facebook’s origins are explored from its popular but morally dubious first guise as an online platform to rate the attractiveness of female classmates through its evolution to a universally embraced social tool. Alongside the emergence of digital footprints, real-life friendships fall by the wayside in the fast-paced world of the digital start-up.

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Searching

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration102 mins

Searching(2018)

After his 16 year-old daughter goes missing, her father investigates her laptop to try and track her down.

This superbly executed thriller uses a variety of screens to tell its story – laptop webcams, CCTV cameras, mobile phone videos and more – to demonstrate our modern reliance on technology and how we can piece together different parts of an individual’s online footprint to build a profile of their life, habits and activities, to potentially dangerous effect.

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The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration105 mins

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz(2014)

Eye-opening documentary about Aaron Swartz – a brilliantly gifted thinker and internet information freedom activist.

Aaron Swartz was a ‘hacktivist’ who believed that scientific research should be in the public domain, rather than the property of corporations. A great starting point for conversations about the function of the internet and how the issue of file sharing and data theft should be defined.

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The DUFF

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration97 mins

The DUFF(2015)

High-school comedy about a student who reinvents herself after discovering people see her as a gateway to her more popular friends.

A subverted ugly duckling tale that sees the protagonist rebel against being labelled after a social media leak exposes her to public ridicule. The D.U.F.F. is a relatable high-school comedy drama with a message about taking back control over your identity - even when others are determined to turn you into the next meme.

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Catfish

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration85 mins

Catfish(2010)

Much-discussed US documentary which follows the social networking exploits of Nev, a 24-year-old New York-based photographer.

‘Catfishing’ is now a recognised online phenomenon- and this is the documentary that coined the term. Exploring a long-distance relationship that has not yet moved beyond the computer screen, this is a fascinating revelation of how online personas are created and maintained, and an insight into the motivations behind them.

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Men, Women and Children

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration120 mins

Men, Women and Children(2014)

Earnest drama exploring the effects of the internet on everyday American lives.

Taking on similar concerns as expressed in InRealLife, this drama explores how the internet has pervaded and even replaced many basic social interactions, and explores how increased online connection can lead to real life isolation. Issues covered are online gaming addiction, and the influence of forums such as pro-anorexia websites.

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Trust

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration105 mins

Trust(2010)

This drama from David Schwimmer is a powerful and provocative film about the hidden dangers of the internet.

In this drama there is a more disturbing take on the issue of hidden online personas as a romance develops beyond the virtual between a highschooler and someone who turns out to be much older. As well as exploring personal safety online this film also questions whether the right support is in place is right for those affected by online grooming.

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The Bling Ring

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration87 mins

The Bling Ring(2013)

The true story of a group of LA teens who flirted with infamy after breaking into the houses of the celebrities who lived in their midst.

In this dramatisation of real events, young people use the internet to target the homes of celebrities and steal trophies. Analysing unhealthy obsession with public figures, this film explores how posting personal information online allows people with bad intentions to take advantage.

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Dope

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration99 mins

Dope(2015)

Self-professed high school geek Malcolm is put in a compromising position when he finds himself in accidental possession of a large quantity of drugs.

In this high-school comedy-drama social media is harnessed as a marketing tool and transactions are completed with online currency when nerdy Malcolm finds himself hijacked into the drugs trade. Issues are raised about the use of social media for business purposes, the rise of alternative web currency, and the use of the web for illegal trade.

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Ingrid Goes West

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration98 mins

Ingrid Goes West(2017)

Social media satire in which a young woman named Ingrid moves to Los Angeles to befriend her latest obsession, Instagram celebrity Taylor Sloane.

A black comedy drama about the desire to be liked and the impact social media can have upon one’s mental health, ‘Ingrid Goes West’ is a cautionary tale about the apparently perfect lives we often see displayed on social media sites.

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Eighth Grade

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration94 mins

Eighth Grade(2018)

A 13 year-old girl endures her final week of eighth grade, navigating the perilous world of social media and the end of middle school.

Another film about the desire to be liked, albeit one in which is tackled in a very different way to ‘Ingrid Goes West’. ‘Eighth Grade’, instead, is a painfully accurate depiction on growing up, with protagonist Kayla producing supremely awkward vlogs to communicate with her classmates and express herself in a way she might otherwise struggle to do face-to-face.

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Unfriended

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration81 mins

Unfriended(2014)

An online group-chat between five teenage friends takes a sinister turn when an account belonging to their dead classmate joins the conversation.

This horror film uses a webcam group-chat setup to explore school and cyber bullying to great effect, creating a believable and relatable group dynamic between five friends and a mysterious presence who refuses to leave them alone. ‘Unfriended’ is about the responsibilities we have to protect students beyond the classroom and the consequences such behaviour can have.

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