Samantha LaChiana, Staff Writer

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On April 27th, 2017, East Rockaway Jr./Senior High School presented a documentary film to students in grades 7-12. The documentary was the 2016 film Screenagers. The plot of the film revolves around a woman deciding if she should buy her twelve-year-old daughter an iPhone. The film goes deep into her family’s experiences with their children and how technology has affected their lives. Delaney Ruston, the mother struggling to make her decision, makes the choice of gathering information about how smart-phones and screen time affect a teenager’s brain development and behavior.

The documentary explores many different family stories concerning how technology has negatively impacted their child’s life. The film mentions the statistics of how much time teenagers actually spend staring at screens in a day (kids use screens about 6.5 hours of the day). The numbers were genuinely astonishing. The film also explains how having cell phones in school make it very difficult for students to pay attention in class and actually learn. The film does not only explore family stories, but neuroscience as well. Excessive screen-time is shown to have a drug-like effect on a teenager’s brain.

I personally felt that the documentary had a very important message and could definitely have a significant effect on some teenagers, especially those who are “addicted” and don’t even know it. But, I do have one critique about what would make it a better film. I feel that the film should also explore the positive impact of screen-time. In my opinion, the movie really only spoke about the negative effects of technology on children. I understand that the purpose was to prove the negatives, but I think if they at least mentioned the positive effects in schools, it would make their argument stronger. Overall, the movie was very inspiring and informative, and hopefully students with screen-time issues learned something from it.

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