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SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age

Suffield Academy hosted a showing of the award-winning documentary film SCREENAGERS: Growing Up in the Digital Age in the Jeanice Seaverns Performing Arts Center on April 9. As part of the Freshman Leadership program this year, the screening evolved from an assignment Bill Sullivan (Chair of Suffield’s Department of English) tasked to the group of seniors enrolled in his Project Based Learning elective. “I asked them to identify and research the most important global issues that face their generation,” commented Sullivan, “and along with mental health, climate change, automation, potable water, ocean pollution, and some other issues, they thought that the stress, mental health issues, and phone addiction surrounding smart phones was an important topic.”
 
Sullivan added, “When they had to respond to the #PBL challenge of planning a project that would have them share what they learned with our community in a beneficial way, their research led us to this community movie program. We then reached out to the Leadership program to partner with their teachers and TAs to bring the 45-minute student version of the film to campus.”
 
In SCREENAGERS, physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston takes a deeply personal approach on mental health as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERSreveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.
 
Freshman Paige Hostetter concluded, “SCREENAGERS is a film vital towards the awareness of teenagers and their extensive use of electronics. Although at first I found it to be overly dramatic and exaggerated, I started to see the truth in how badly we overuse screen time in our day-to-day lives. My daily screen time decreased by 32% the very next day after viewing this documentary. I believe it was an effective way to educate my peers as digital citizens and make us aware of the growing epidemic that could influence our lives greatly.”
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