California Educator

October 2016

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Screen Time Documentary Screenagers explores students' addiction to devices and games By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin T eens spend about 6.5 hours a day looking at their phones or computer screens — and that doesn't include time spent on classwork or homework. Most of the time they are texting their friends, posting on social media or playing video games. It comes at the expense of hobbies, exercise, reading, face-to-face conversations, and the ability to focus on schoolwork. Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, a documentary by Seattle-based physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston, examines how technolog y impacts youth . When Ruston's 13-year-old daughter requested her first smartphone, hoping to join the 68 percent of teens who have them, Ruston started asking hard questions. As a doctor, she wanted to know if too much technology hurt teenagers' developing brains. As a mom, she worried about the possible impact on her daughter's schoolwork. She wondered how to set reasonable limits on her daughter's device use. W hile geared toward parents attempting to help their children navigate the digital world, the film also appeals to educators, who often walk a fine line between incorporating technology in the classroom and being the cellphone police. One teacher discusses the benefits of taking phones away, while another talks about cultivating responsible usage to prepare students for the real world. Teachers may disagree on cellphone use, but students agree on one thing: ey have a tough time ignoring their phones. Students describe difficulties with doing homework or pay- ing attention in class because they would rather look at their screens. Kids admit they are addicted to their phones and video games — some to the point of checking into a technology rehab facility. One student shares that when someone has a phone out next to him in class, he becomes anxious to look at his own. "It's like you're waiting for something to happen that's more inter- esting than what's in class and you're not engaged," he explains. A girl is so distracted by her phone that she can't listen to her teacher, and talks to the teacher after school to find out 40 teaching & learning A scene from Screenagers shows students on their phones; 68 percent of teens have phones. GROWING UP IN THE DIGITAL AGE M Y D O C P R O D U C T I O N S P R E S E N T S I N A S S O C I A T I O N W I T H I N D I E F L I X A F I L M B Y D E L A N E Y R U S T O N " S C R E E N A G E R S " G E O F F S C H A A F D A N M C C O M B D E L A N E Y R U S T O N E R I K D U G G E R D E L A N E Y R U S T O N G E N C H A S E H E I D I P A I G E P A U L B R I L L S C I L L A A N D R E E N K A R I N G O R N I C K L I S A T A B B D E L A N E Y R U S T O N L I S A T A B B S C I L L A A N D R E E N D E L A N E Y R U S T O N D I R E C T O R S O F P H O T O G R A P H Y E D I T E D B Y A S S O C I A T E P R O D U C E R S M U S I C B Y E X E C U T I V E P R O D U C E R S P R O D U C E D B Y D I R E C T E D B Y

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