California Educator

October 2016

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Q&A with Delaney Ruston What can schools/educators do to help with this problem? We've seen creative solutions, like requiring students to put their phones in a basket when they arrive in class, or hanging a shoe holder on the door and having kids put their phones in it. A company called Yondr has a sleeve-like Wi-Fi blocker sack that some schools are using. We recommend teachers talk with kids about screen dis- traction and how to manage it themselves. How can educators work with families to help? We publish a Tech Talk Tuesday on our website weekly, and teachers can email it or some other conversation starter to help parents start productive conversations that encourage kids to give their own insights about screen time effects. Teachers can also connect with parents on ways to limit kids' multi-screen use, such as apps that shut down social media while students are doing homework. See for a list. Why should Screenagers be viewed in a community setting? We encourage kids, parents and educators to watch it together. The film includes honest inputs from all three groups. In post-screening discussions all three groups talk, which is key. People often walk out feeling empowered to make rules and guidelines to help their kids build self-control. Many studies show that self-control is a better predictor of success than intelligence. Has Screenagers had a positive impact? We con- stantly hear that seeing the film affects students in positive ways and that parents are making changes to reduce their children's screen time. For example, some schools have followed our Tech Talk Tuesday model. Others have tech advisory groups that include teachers, admin, parents and students meeting to discuss issues as they unfold in academic and social situations. One 13-year-old decided to stop using video games for a week as a science project — he wanted to see how it would feel to be off the games. A girl asked her mom to put limits on her social media use because the film made her realize that while she thought she was in control of her cellphone time, it was actually controlling her. what she's missed. Another girl cries as she discusses being bullied after "sexting" someone she thought she could trust, who shared the photos all over school. e hourlong film packs a lot of information into an enter- taining format, juxtaposing experts and screenagers with the Ruston family drama. ere is also practical advice on limiting screen time. Some takeaways: • Technology is addicting because dopamine — a brain chemical that produces pleasure — is released whenever people discover new information. Looking at a smartphone releases dopamine. • Girls spend more time worrying about their appearance due to social media postings. • B o y s sp en d a n av era ge of 1 . 5 d ay s p er w e ek p l ay i n g video games. • Teens are losing the ability to make eye contact and conver- sation because they are always on devices. • Students aren't getting enough sleep because they are on their devices late at night. • Teens need limits on screen time to be successful. Younger students rely on parents to set limits; older students can use apps (see Q&A). • Many students pretend they are doing homework when they are actually playing video games or posting on social media. • Parents who worry about children's excessive screen time are also guilty of the same. ey are setting a poor example. Screenagers is a great discussion tool and is available for screenings. e CTA discount offers members lower rates for screenings and an overall price reduction if tickets are sold. See, call 415-450-9585, or email 41 October 2016 Students, along with adults, become addicted to their phones because dopamine is released whenever people discover new information, such as the latest post, "like" or text.

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