St. Paul to host viewing of Screenagers
Editor’s note: On Sunday, Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m., St. Paul will host a free viewing of Screenagers: Growing up in the digital age. It is open to the public. Watch the film, then take part in a discussion afterwards. No need to sign up, just come.
Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston decided to make Screenagers when she found herself constantly struggling with her two kids about screen time.
She felt guilty and confused, not sure what limits were best, especially around mobile phones, social media, gaming, and online homework. She also heard other parents talk about feeling overwhelmed, too.
“It all started with one question – what new phone to get my daughter. I knew what Tessa wanted: A smart phone,” Delaney says in the movie trailer. “I learned that youth spend on average 6 and half hours looking at screens. As a doctor, I decided I needed to learn the impact of all of this screen time on kids. And as a mom, I needed to know what to do.”
Themes in Screenagers include use of screens in school, video games, social media, and risk of addiction. Statistics highlighted include:
- Kids spend on average 6.5 hours a day on screens and that doesn’t include classroom or homework screen time.
- Boys spend on average the equivalent of 1.5 days on video games every week.
- Some recent studies show us that screen time increases dopamine production and causes behavior that mimics addiction.
Examples of stories include Hannah’s, an 14-year old who experienced social media bullying that stemmed from her trying to hide her use of social media from her mom. The film also follows Andrew, a straight-A student whose love of video games spins out of control when he goes off to college.
Along with these stories is evidence and insights from thought leaders and leading brain scientists. Screenagers also shows approaches parents and educators can take to help kids achieve a healthy amount of screen time.
“The mistake that parents often make is that they assert their authority without explaining it in a way that makes sense to their child,” said Laurance Steinberg, professor of adolescence at Temple University.