This past weekend, I attended a community screening of Screenagers. The documentary is about screen time and digital addiction. It was great to see a community come together to discuss and reflect on our interaction with screens. While much of the documentary was about youth, I especially liked how they highlighted that this is not just a problem for students. Adults need to know how to find balance too and practice what they preach. The nice thing about this screening being a community event was the emphasis that everyone plays a part. The education system cannot do it alone. Parents cannot do it alone. It indeed takes a village, a community. Similar to the Like movie, I left the screening feeling curious and wanting more. Wanting more because I am passionate about the topic and because I think there is a need for society to be in the know of technology wellness. Again, my wish is for this information to become more mainstream and available just like information on fitness and nutrition.
The film brought to light many things but I’d like to quickly share my biggest takeaways. The idea of technology contracts came up. One family wrote a contract of expectations for their child to sign, but it was later suggested that families create a contract together. All family members should participate in creating and signing it. This is very similar to Capturing Kids Hearts social contracts that educators create in their classrooms. Everyone is involved and everyone plays by the same rules.
It is mentioned that the digital divide conversation isn’t necessarily about access anymore, it’s about how the device is being used. This reminds me of how people have different philosophies and views on technology and phones in schools. On one end of the spectrum, some schools completely ban cell phones. The other end of the spectrum is that schools allow cell phones but it is the wild wild west. I’m an advocate for that “somewhere in between” spot. It is important that students are taught responsibility, respect, and mindfulness when interacting with their digital devices.
I jotted down the names of many people featured in the documentary; Larry Rosen, Sherry Turkle, Simon Sinek, and David Levy to name a few. David Levy’s book Mindful Tech is now on my “To Read” list. While exploring his website, I came across his cellphone observation exercise, which I’m curious to do. As I begin to research more and more, I discovered that there is a whole category for books on Amazon called Human- Computer interaction. This made me happy to see this category on something as mainstream as Amazon!
Screenagers was another gateway to many other blog posts soon to be written. My hope is for society to find balance and self control as technology users. I recommend checking out some of my favorite resources from the Screenagers website; Tech Talk Tuesdays, Screen Time Contracts, Internet Addction, Sleep & Screens.