Having recently had an interesting conversation with my sixth class about buying a DVD on line I was shocked to discover that they had no idea that it was in fact illegal to download movies and television programmes online from piracy sites.
The situation arose when having read and enjoyed the novel ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar we decided as a class that we would love to watch the movie adaption that Disney had made of the book. I was discussing this with my class and said that I would order the DVD from play.com and hopefully it would be delivered to me by the end of the week and we could watch it then. The children were in absolute shock that I would not just go online to a streaming site or download the movie from one of the many sites they were mentioning to me. They were appalled that I would not allow them to do this and watch the film instantly. They seemed completely oblivious to the fact that this practice was completely illegal and coupled with this the term piracy was a completely new idea to them.
This occurrence lead to a conversation with the whole class about the practice of downloading and streaming movies/music/ television programmes on their computers at home. It would be safe to say that from this conversation about 95% of the children are downloading and streaming content on a regular basis. We had a conversation and I alerted the children to the fact that this was illegal and how it had a detrimental effect on jobs etc. in these markets. The children’s most common response to this was the fact that in their eyes everybody does this. To be fair to the children they are not far wrong, downloading new movies and music from illegal online sites is extremely common these days and a big sector of the world’s population do at some point download or stream some pirated content. It is my opinion that although I had the conversation with the class it largely fell on deaf ears.
I am of the opinion that as educators it is imperative that we strive to provide the children with the information they will need to enable them to become law abiding citizens and this would include their online activities. However I do wonder in this age of technology where everything is accessible online are we already fighting a losing battle?