On Thursday January 26, 2017, approximately 175 parents, students, educators and other concerned community members attended the screening of the 2016 documentary Screenagers by Delaney Ruston, M.D. a family care physician and filmmaker. AFE would like to thank fellow sponsors: WFBHS Parent Association and Cumberland PTO.
After the screening, there was a brief talkback session with audience participation. Both adults and students spoke candidly about their personal experiences and reactions to the documentary. Students and parents in the audience offered many insightful comments, including:
- Agreement that students used devices to avoid social situations;
- Appreciation of need for boundaries, especially when parents explain their concerns instead of just setting rules;
- Recognition that peers sometimes don’t talk to each other but talk about what’s on their phones;
- Striking a balance between creating restrictions and providing opportunities for independence;
- Concern about digital device habits when kids go away to college; and
- Instead of concern about over-scheduled students, acknowledging positive impact of extracurricular activities
After viewing the film and listening to the talkback, AFE’s takeaway was this: make rules for usage of devices/screen time but involve your child in the rule-making; start a dialogue with your child about their digital life and keep that dialogue going so they can develop healthy habits; and look at your own use of devices and see what sort of example you are setting for your family.
The website www.screenagersmovie.com offers many fantastic resources. One is the Tech Talk Tuesdays program, by which parents can pledge to have conversations with the youths in their lives and the program sends parents ideas for the talk.
Screenagers is a great place to start the conversation and it’s a conversation that needs to continue in our community, our schools, and our homes.