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Screenagers Movie Review

Recently PREP had the pleasure of seeing the movie “Screenagers” with 3 teens and 3 adults and asking for their movie review.

Two of the adults work in education and have young children of their own.

The third adult was a parent to one of the teens who attended.

Prior to seeing the movie, I had asked one of the adults who works in education what her students who had seen it thought of the movie. She laughed when she reported one student’s “Screenagers” movie review was that they didn’t like it, but the teacher would because she’s a parent. We agreed that was probably the typical teen response to a movie that focuses on the unhealthy and sometimes dangerous aspects of teens’ near constant use of social media!

So what were we expecting when we invited teens and adults to share a table at a recent showing of the movie?

To be honest, I expected the teens to give it an honest listen and then to respond with a ‘meh, that’s not us, though’ kind of reaction.

I was hoping the adults who work in education and struggle daily with phones in their classrooms – and frankly have all but given up on fighting the fight – would be reinvigorated to strengthen their resolve around removing phones from their classrooms and bestowing the glories of being disconnected.

And for the parent who attended with their teen? I could only hope it would give them reason to have a conversation afterwards and not create any additional conflict around the subject.

It was not surprising that the adults (myself included) who work in education didn’t find the movie earth-shattering or mind-blowing. I think we already knew most of the dangers and downsides. However, we all agreed that the movie gained credibility by balancing the problem between teens AND adults!

YES, adults are on social media, and their phones in general, in ways that hinder good relationship building and communication, too.  Teens and adults alike need to take time to put the phones down and have face to face conversations. We all agreed that the movie helped us to be more aware of how our own usage impacts the people in our lives.

Adults on phonesTeens on phones

What was surprising was the depth in which the teens responded. There was not one ‘yeah, but’ to be heard!

Teen Perspective

One teenager who has her eyes set on a medical profession wrote:

I thought “Screenagers” was a pretty great and informative movie. It presented real facts in a concise and entertaining way that helped me understand the impact of technology on today’s youth.
As a youth myself, I thought I knew a lot already about the effects of technology. But having actual scientific proof and research presented to me was very helpful in adding to my knowledge. I think my biggest takeaway from “Screenagers” would be the importance of time and how it should be used to focus on what is truly around you, not on what’s on the screen.
Knowing this teen and her interest in the brain, how it works and scientific facts in general, I found it refreshing that she could admit to knowing some but not all and finding nuggets to take away from the movie. Afterwards, I questioned whether other teens – you know, the ones who don’t have a vested interest in the workings of the brain – would also find the scientific proof and research helpful. She confessed that some students may be turned off but, in general, she believes teens are interested in knowing how a part of their body works and would welcome the information when presented in such an entertaining way that doesn’t intend to denigrate the teenage spirit. Mind blown! Hope restored!Where Focus Goes

Adult Child Communication

Another teen who attended with her mom shared in some adult-child communication afterwards. Here are their thoughts:
I’m so glad I came to the screening. I feel like I’m always arguing with my parents about my phone and social media. I don’t use my phone that often but I like having it around. My parents worry about what I do on social media and even if I show them they feel anxious. The screening helped my mom understand it and she talked to me after. This made it so much better because it allows me to show her I can be responsible and know right from wrong. I learned a lot throughout the screening and have ideas on how to limit time on my phone. After the screening I feel like I get so much more sleep and use my phone in more productive ways.
Being a parent of a teenager is pretty difficult. Nowadays having social media there makes it pretty sketchy. I don’t know what my kid is doing and how it can affect her. This screening really helped out. It gave me ideas and insight on what social media really is. It made me understand multiple ways on how it’s used. It made me feel more confident with my child using it and me monitoring it as a parent. Talking to my daughter afterwards was a big bonus. We had a few rules using the screening as a guide. We all make time for our phones but make sure to not touch them when we are talking. It shouldn’t be restricted rather used as a tool to build responsibility. I really enjoyed it and if there were another screening I’d go and watch it. It made me understand and be more comprehensive. That’s what we need as parents, not rules and restrictions, rather a guide and tools to use.
THIS is what we’re about at PREP; Adult-Child Communication! We are so glad we made the attempt to engage youth and adults in thought-provoking reflections and conversations over a topic that can often times escalate quickly into an argument that is most likely repeated on multiple occasions. We are so glad that we can foster adults discussing difficult topics with their teenage children. We look forward to more opportunities to engage youth and adults in meaningful conversations and are thankful to the organizers of this great event.