By Samantha Morris ’21
The documentary “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age” was shown and discussed in an event on Jan. 25 in the Saperstein Theatre. Created by filmmaker Delaney Ruston, the movie examines the effects of technology use on children and teenagers, while discussing the responsibilities of families in adjusting to the digital age. The decision to show “Screenagers” was based on input from parents, who attended an event with Head of Middle School Jon Wimbish last year. Having heard about the documentary through these parents, Wimbish saw a showing of the movie at New Roads School, and then decided to schedule a screening of the film for our community.
“I wanted to provide conversation starters for parents and children,” Wimbish said.
The award-winning film features experts such as neuroscientists, authors and psychologists. According to many students, the documentary made them aware of surprising issues concerning technology overuse.
“I learned that you can get addicted to technology,” Marcelo Blander ’20 said.
Both adults and students were invited to the screening, which occurred from 7 to 9 p.m. The event was sold-out, and it is estimated that about 350 people attended.
“I went to the event with my mom, and the experience really opened my eyes to the problems surrounding technology overuse,” Sydney Gartner ’21 said.
The event was connected to the message of guest speaker Dr. Lori Getz, who has been speaking to middle school students at class meetings. Since its release, “Screenagers” has been shown across the country at more than 2000 school and community events.
“The movie helped me understand how to better manage my screen time. I found the experience worthwhile and informative,” Simran Yogakumar ’21 said.
At the end of the screening, power difficulties, which were apparent earlier during the school day, reappeared. Although this prevented the last 10 minutes of the documentary from being shown, the majority of the screening was unaffected. After the power outage, a panel composed of faculty members fielded technology-related questions from the audience. In addition to Wimbish, this panel included middle school teachers Julia Grody and Ian Ulmer and Upper School Psychologist Kavita Ajmere.