Lewis County Schools, in partnership with Region 7 Adolescent Health, is offering an opportunity for families to start a conversation about the effects of screen time on the brain and mental health. Two films are available for families.
“Screenager: Growing up in the digital age”
An award-winning film that explores the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts chaotic battles over social media, video games, and academics. The film offers solutions how parents can help their children to find their way in the digital world. (Running time approx. 67 minutes)
“Screenager’s Next Chapter: Uncovering Stress Resistance Skills”
High levels of stress, anxiety, and depression are experienced by millions of young people. This film accompanies the doctor and filmmaker Delaney Ruston in her search for solutions to improve the wellbeing of young people in the digital age. (Running time approx. 63 minutes)
“As adults, we hear more and more research showing the negative effects of social media and gaming screen time on our youth. In preparing this next generation for the future, talking about boundaries and adequacy is vital, ”said Barb Crawford Tucker, coordinator of the Adolescent Health Initiative.
With multiple screenings per day in communities around the world, Screenagers is the first documentary to explore the impact of screen technology on children and to provide parents and families with proven solutions that work. What began as a personal story for one has grown into a national movement helping millions of teenagers and their families navigate a world with instant access to screens.
Ruston decided to do screenagers when she was constantly battling with her two children over screen time.
Feeling guilty and confused, Ruston wasn’t sure which boundaries were best, especially when it came to cell phones, social media, gaming, and monitoring homework online. When she repeatedly heard how other parents were equally overwhelmed, she realized that this is one of the greatest unexplored parenting problems of our time.
As a director, Ruston turned the camera on her own family and others – revealing stories of chaotic battles over social media, video games, academics, and internet addiction.
Viewers meet Hannah, a 14-year-old social media bullying victim who struggled to hide her social media usage from her mother. And Andrew, whose love of video games turned into an addiction that drove him to earn ace straight out of college.
Interwoven into these stories are cutting edge science and insights from thought leaders Peggy Orenstein, Sherry Turkle, and Simon Sinek, as well as leading neuroscientists who present evidence of the actual changes in the brain when children are on screen.
Screenagers goes far beyond exposing the risks of screen time. It highlights several approaches that parents and educators can work with children to help them achieve healthy screen time.
“Screenagers” uses a new sales model. A community viewing model brings parents and educators together to start a nationwide conversation about how screen time is affecting their lives and what to do about it.
As part of the community viewing model, parents, educators, PTAs, religious organizations, medical practices and workplace groups can book their own screenings at www.screenagersmovie.com. Parents are encouraged to bring their children to see the film.
Children spend an average of 6.5 hours a day on screens, and that doesn’t include screen time in the classroom or doing homework. Boys spend an average of 1.5 days a week playing video games.
Some recent studies show that screen time increases dopamine production and causes behavior that mimics an addiction.
Lewis County High School teachers were given access to screenagers to share with students and discuss points made in the film.
These films can be accessed via a link on the Lewis County Schools Facebook page or directly from the link at https://lcsl.eventcombo.com.
Tucker said she expected other schools to be interested in sharing the film with students and families.
“My hope is that this information reinforces the recent news about how social media can affect mental health,” she said. “Stress, anxiety, and depression are treatable, and any information available to families can be valuable in managing mental health.
“Education and information enable us all to make decisions about our health, and that always includes mental health.
“These films shed light on an area that has crept into many of us. The use of electronic devices and the development of social media have unimagined implications. Now that the research is done, we can understand the situation and make informed decisions about screen time for us and the young people who matter to us. “