Disney sitcom links open source code and viruses

first_imgAnyone writing for kids television has an obligation to tell the truth, present facts in their entirety, and not attempt to influence children through any form of propaganda. But the writers on Disney‘s sitcom Shake It Up seemingly overlooked the facts, or at least have no clue about technology, when writing Episode 28 of Season 2.Episode 28 aired over the weekend and saw two of the characters write some software which goes on to infect computers with a virus. The little geeky kid is asked to help after machines stop working and he jumps to the conclusion that they used open source code to save time, and that the virus was hidden in the open source files.Really, Disney?The episode has understandably been met with a lot of anger online. Not only is the suggestion of a general link between viruses and open source code ridiculous, it was also made during a kids show regularly watched by at least 2.5 million children aged between 6-14. Children who listen and take on board what they are hearing and may now believe open source code is dangerous and should be avoided.It’s true that technology is taking an ever more active role in our daily lives, and that children are being introduced to it earlier. But that also means script writers need to keep up with technology, or should avoid talking about it if they are not comfortable with the subject matter.For Disney’s part they need to change the episode so as not to suggest this link. I’d say they also need to issue an apology, but I’m sure it would have very little impact. Finally, they need to hire a tech consultant if they want to touch on technology in future episodes or other shows so as to avoid such a mistake happening again.The funny thing is, if the kid had mentioned a link between using Windows or OS X  and getting infected then Microsoft or Apple’s lawyers would have been on the phone to Disney demanding an apology while spinning up the PR machine to counteract any bad press. As it’s open source being attacked it’s left up to a whole range of organizations and the general community to put pressure on Disney to do anything about this mistake.via TechCrunchlast_img

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