When Cathy finds Tom sitting in the park, sipping on a Slurpee, she seems happy to see her friend. But what she doesn’t realize is that Tom has recently experienced lousy times on the Internet (at the 1:08 mark, look for The Eyes).
“I was surfing the net last night, and I saw some things,” Tom tells Cathy. And his expression tells the story of things not easily unseen, of vague danger and a mustachioed, hairy-armed man who drinks watered-down Scotch and lurks in chat rooms that look a lot like Microsoft Word documents (Dial-up pedophiles!). It’s a cautionary tale for children who will grow to adults that later realize the only friends they have are on the Internet. Sure, Internet & Street Smarts (1998) is a PSA, but watching it 13 years after it was filmed gives it the quality of a Greek tragedy (with poor production values).
On a closing note, the video’s narrator does tap into an important idea when he imparts this wisdom to young Interneters: “Remember, just because someone types something in a computer, that doesn’t mean it’s the truth.”