Wednesday, October 09, 2019

"Screenagers" Two documentary films on the effect of "too much" screen time and social media on adolescents, still hard to see the films


ABC Good Morning America today mentioned the 70-minute documentary “Screenagers” (2016), directed, written and produced by Delaney Ruston. In 2019 there is a (franchise) sequel: “Screenagers Next Chapter: Uncovering Skills for Stress Resilience” (69 minutes).  I also see related books on Amazon but not the films.  There was a series of podcasts (one is on youtube) in 2015.  On YouTube I see trailers and interviews but no full movies.

Interested parties can request the film to arrange their own screenings. There is one in Annapolis, MD Oct 9 which is already sold out.  The film seems to have been produced in NYC and surrounding areas.

The filmmakers seem to have limited access to people who will actually organize others into screenings. I would expect to see the films available for normal rental on Amazon or YouTube, or perhaps on Netflix or Hulu, soon. As soon as I can see it or find it for rent I’ll review the full film on Wordpress.


The WQED “commentary” above (7 minutes) and Fox 5 interview (5 min) include the trailer and explain the film. 

There was an experiment with mice showing that when they are exposed in youth to electronic stimuli, they do not develop as many neurons related to normal cognition as do unexposed mice.  The trailer shows the cat scans. 

The trailers show a disconnect between families, which in good faith try to limit screen time, and schools, which teach technology (an English teacher actually taught a unit on “blogging” in 2006).  Pediatricians have long said that small children should not be exposed to the fast moving images of media until ages 2 or 3.

Teenagers who accomplish a lot (like Jack Andraka with his science fair pancreatic cancer test, or Taylor Wilson with his fusion reactor, usually have a strong footing in the physical world.  Jack and his older brother Luke (also very accomplished in environmental issues) compete in international kayaking events. Taylor is used to doing outdoor prospecting in caves and in the desert (in western states).  As kids, in the 1950s, we invented outdoor forms of baseball or softball that could be played with fewer people and actually built physical “stadiums”.  That’s easier in the Midwest where there is more land.

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