Research Portfolio - Treatment
The treatment for
The Shocking Truth of Status Updates
A moving and revealing documentary on the problems social networking has caused among the teenagers of the online age. We learn about the heart-breaking stories of those who are lonely and those who have already taken their own lives.
The facts and figures
Today, seventy-three per cent of teens will access their favourite socialnetwork, but do we really know what our children are exposed to during the online age? The Internet has been powerfully propelled within the past 30 years but maybe not all the advances have been positive. Facebook has now hit a total of five hundred million users, but whilst most of us are having fun blogging and tagging photographs of our friends, there are brutal, terrifying stories, causing death, and lasting damage.
The Shocking Truth of Status Updates is a one off, one hour documentary which aims to find out why teenagers are suffering, to question why we are now such a lonely population and finally to discover if social networking is safe for our world. The target audience is both young teenagers and parents as we aim to discover that the line between social networking pain and pleasure is very fine and easily crossed, but most importantly how to prevent this happening. The audience will learn from our contributors that their problems cascaded very quickly until they were beyond their own control. This message will be emphasized to our viewers so that they know (or know for their children) the risk of social networking sites. As well as this some of the benefits of social networking will also be outlined.
The documentary opens at the scene of Bridgend (the town now known for the twenty-one teenage suicides due to a reported Facebook death pact). Here we find our presenter Piers Morgan introducing the programming. Piers will hold the documentary together, who whilst presenting the show, will learn the “truth” about networking (the viewer will watch his journey to discover all the facts). During the documentary he will look into how our lives have been affected by social networking by visiting three guests, two journalists and an expert – clinical psychologist Oliver James.
Our first guest Sophie who at first seems to be a typical teenager, but beneath the surface lies a person torn apart in her early years by an eating disorder. Sophie has now fully recovered but her journey is an on-going struggle. She discusses how social networking makes the chances of a relapse very high, due to the bombardment of pro-ana and pro-mia sites, as well as campaigns on blogs and Facebook groups.
Next Piers meets Cassie, (a recent contributor to Channel 4’s Seven Days). During Cassie's appearance on the show, she had use social networking sites such as Twitter and Chatnav, where not only was she bullied to a horrible extent, but also received death threats and strange men lurking outside her house, attempting to kidnap her children. Although Cassie put up a strong mask to pretend she was not scared it has left her with strong emotional scars, which she'll have for life.
In support of our story is journalist Tom Meltzer – the recent writer of the article "Social networking: Failure to connect" for the guardian. He outlines how social networking has impacted his own life, but also gives practical safety advice on how to avoid problems on social networking and on the Internet as a whole.
Although the show is aiming to outline the horrors of social networking, it is important to show that there can be some positive effects. Piers will next meet Brendan Koerner, (a writer for Wired magazine who is well-known for his knowledge of all things technical). Brendan strongly believes that social networking and even the Internet as a whole has changed our lives for the better.
Bringing the show together is our clinical psychologist Oliver James, who will give the professional opinion, backed up with psychological evidence on what the outcome of social networking on our society actually is
The message of the programme
The documentary will be moving and compelling, where the audience will learn the harsh reality of what’s happening to our teens and learn how to stop it happening to their friends and family. However, the most important part of the programme is the fact it ends with the fact that the problems caused by social networking can always be overcome and that there are survivors from extreme suffering. The feeling of hope and recovery must be conveyed to help those who are already distressed.
Ideas and filming techniques
The journey through the documentary is emotional, engaging and inspiring for many of our target audience. Slow sombre music help set the scene and link the pieces together, this could be paired with lots of close ups and at times extreme close ups to show the true emotions of the contributors.
The show will invite feedback through multi-platform opportunities; a twitter feed offering support to victims, a support service, Iplayer and a mobile app with games and support.