It’s a common script:
“But everyone else in my school has a smartphone!”
“I have to play the newest video game!”
“Why don’t you trust me with a tablet?”
“I need Snapchat and Instagram! My social status depends on it!”
The arguments go on and on with most teens who crave the connectedness, coolness, and entertainment that come with screens and devices in their various forms. Often on counteroffensive are parents who worry that with increasing screen time, their kids will forfeit social development, physical exercise and academic performance.
Delaney Ruston and her 12-year-old daugher Tessa were at odds over these common concerns when they found themselves on a parallel quest. Delaney’s mission was to discover the effect of screen time on teens and use the information she gathered to make the best decisions regarding screen use guidelines for Tessa and her brother. Tessa’s focus was much more simple: she wanted a smartphone like all her friends. “Screenagers” springboards from this seeming conflict of interest between mother and daughter into interviews with physicians, researchers, parents, addiction specialists and teens themselves to uncover the complex effect of screen time on young minds and achieve a truce.
Ruston, herself a Stanford trained physician and erstwhile documentary filmmaker is refreshingly vulnerable as she examines her own family’s struggles while investigating what’s best for an entire generation of kids growing up in the digital age.
Watch this movie with your teen. Screenings happened in Portland in February, April and May, but there’s still an opportunity to host a screening in Vancouver. Visit www.screenagersmovie.com/host-a-screening to learn more.