Although MTV is famous for their reality shows geared for teens such as, Jersey Shore, the television network has always been ahead of the curve in presenting relevant topics that impact a wide range of North American youth. Most recently, MTV decided to raise awareness to the issue of cyber-bullying. During the same week that MTV’s movie DISconnected premiered, CNN’s Anderson Cooper introduced a special about bullying. In any current parenting magazine articles depicting tragedies due to bullying are the main feature.
Of the coverage on bullying, MTV’s DISconnected is one of the few resources made for young audiences. Much of the media attention focused on bullying does not examine the impact that Internet, mobile phones, and other forms of technology have in allowing for bullying to go unnoticed.
DISconnected brings insight to the various forms of technology that American youth are connected to. As the movie develops the audience quickly learns the high degree in which youth are connected to each other through technology. The theme that technology is a form of communication that exists at every hour of the day is shown in complex ways. Many of the characters struggle to choose when and when not to communicate with others. The audience learns that a person no longer controls when he or she may be contacted. Technology can be consuming when trying to keep up, and wait for or give responses to others. Characters in the movie must cope when information that they do not want to be public is posted about them. As technology allows for unrestricted communication to be sent out and received constantly, we cannot escape from others contacting us and cannot control if information about ourselves exists on the public online world.
DISconnected successfully presents the way in which we are connected to each other and reveals the ways in which this online connection can cause tension in our offline world relationships. Our online ‘connectedness’ also forces tensions that in fact turn to bullying and harassment. DISconnected allows it’s audience to think about the limits that exist in the online world and what our role is when we are subject to bullying or notice bullying. Although teachers and other authority figures may not have access to monitor cyber-bullying, students are connected to each other and must come to understand the impact that bullying has on it’s victims and aggressors. DISconnected is a great source for youth to begin to understand their role in ensuring that bullying must not be accepted and must be reported.
By Carina Cappuccitti
Carina is a Masters of Education student at York University. She is focusing her studies on the ways that media and popular culture influence young peoples understanding of gender. Carina has a Bachelors degree in Education and Theatre and is so happy that she is able to combine her two passions while interning at Mixed Company.