Tackling Online Disinhibition Effect for Teens

Hey y'all. I've done some digging into our internet behaviors and how AI is learning our behavior online. Introducing Online Disinhibition Effect (ODE), which in a nutshell is how differently we behave ONLINE versus IN REAL LIFE. Here's a more formal definition. Or you can watch the video below, as it's quite informative.

Part of my role as a librarian is to offer resources and lesson ideas as it relates to digital citizenship and online behaviors. This is the reason why I chose ODE to investigate. Online coversations are different from direct, face-to-face conversation in the following ways:

1. You can SEE each other in real life (i.e. visual clues, reading body language)
2. Online exchanges doesn't often take place in REAL TIME, allowing for content misunderstandings.
3. Online is PUBLIC, which amplifies feelings of shame, bullying, othering, etc.
4. Online ANONYMITY equals zero immediate consequences for your actions.

Here's a brief lesson. Use this ODE HANDOUT to divide your students into 6 groups. Using the definitions of the 6 types of ODEs, have them paraphrase the formal definition into a short and sweet explanation. Then while the students are in their groups, please use this O.D.E. to the Internet Poem, which has examples of the 6 ODE behavior traits hidden within the content of the poem. If you find yourself lost, then I can share where they're hidden, if you give me credit for the instruction! 😂🤣😇

ODE to the Internet by Jean Darnell

I recently taught this lesson virtually in Chicago to some young adults. Here are a few pics of the students embracing the material:

Now, because I care about our mental health, I also want to share about Wysa, an AI therapy chatbot, monitored by licensed medical professionals. Here's a bit more information:

P.S. Last but not least, take a look at this PSA via Kelly Yang, author of a wonderful book, Finally Heard (Simon and Schuster, 2024). She inspired me to write about ODE because of the impact on young impressionable minds. Plus, what kind of librarian would I be if I didn't offer a book suggestion to further reiterate my lesson?


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