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SCREENAGERS discusses impact of technology on children

March 27, 2017

student facilitators pose with Supervisor of Special Programs Dana Taylor What is the primary predictor of student success? Many people would guess that it’s intelligence, but it’s not. According to the documentary film, SCREENAGERS, a strong sense of self-control is a better predictor of student success than intelligence is. Self-control is not an inherent trait, but rather a skill that is developed – so what happens to a generation of children whose self-control is constantly being tested with the allure of digital technology?

That’s one of the questions the film seeks to answer. On Friday, March 17, every student in Monticello High School had the opportunity to watch the documentary. Student facilitators, many of whom participate in the Today’s Students, Tomorrow’s Teachers program (TSTT) or in the Academy of Finance (AOF), introduced the film and then led the students in a discussion, including an anonymous survey about student’s own technology use.

 SCREENAGERS features interviews with parents, students and experts on what impact excessive screen time has on the developing mind. It also features practical ways that teens and parents can work together to find ways to use technology responsibly.

 “I always think I’m doing better when I’m multi-tasking,” student Steven Stanford said. “But, the film showed that’s not the case – you’re actually not accomplishing as much.”

 “Leading the students in discussion after the film was a great experience,” said senior student Zanaya Cooper, who participates in the TSTT program. “I got to practice my teaching skills – I didn’t go by a script, I just spoke as if I was talking to friends”

 The district will host a community screening of SCREENAGERS on Monday, April 3, 2017 at 7 p.m. in the Robert J. Kaiser Middle School library. No registration is required. Watch the SCREENAGERS trailer here.

 “The first step in empowerment is knowledge,” Supervisor of Special Programs, Dana Taylor, who helped to organize the screenings said. “We hope that by inviting our students’ families to watch this film, we will equip them with the knowledge to empower both themselves and their children to make good decisions and avoid some of the negative impacts associated with excessive screen time.”