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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that LIKE is a short documentary about the pros and cons of social media. Experts in media and psychology are interviewed, as are teens -- most of whom have an uneven relationship with their phones and social media. There's no strong language, violence, substance use, or sex (save for a mention of how important a "like" can be for someone a social media user actually likes), making it appropriate for older tweens and up. With themes of communication, teamwork, and self-control, this film has the potential to spark timely, interesting conversations and positive change for viewers, both adults and kids. Note: A Common Sense Media executive is among those interviewed in the movie.
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What's the story?
Social media isn't just about what you do and don't LIKE. It's a complex mechanism that feeds into your social life, your emotions, your actions -- even your thought patterns. Through probing interviews with media critics and psychology experts, this documentary delves into the effects that social media has on its users. Simultaneously, teen users explain what social media means to their lives, from the moment they open their eyes and pick up their phones in the morning to the time they fall into an alert-disturbed sleep at night.
Is it any good?
Thought-provoking and intriguing, this dig into social media's positives and (way more) negatives is perfect for watching with phone-mad tweens and teens. Particularly since the best expert advice it offers on short-circuiting social media's cons is to talk to your kids about what's really important in life -- and that if you're nagging kids about screen time, whatever gambit you're trying isn't working.
Not that it will necessarily be easy to get kids to literally put the phone down and watch what might look like a boring lecture (worse, the same one they may have already received from parents). LIKE is indeed full of the kind of talking heads that can turn some viewers off, but teens may be surprised to recognize themselves in what's being said. For instance, the way that breaking a Snapchat streak can make a teen feel like a friendship's going down the tubes ... or the way you might worry if you don't have as many streaks as others. Or the way we negatively compare our inside selves to the heavily curated outside picture presented by others. Or the fear of missing out that just as easily could be experienced as the joy of missing out. Kids may have to be convinced to watch this film, but what they see will make them -- and their parents -- think, and possibly even make changes for the better (surely the loftiest of documentary goals!).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about LIKE's messages around social media. What are its pros and cons? What do kids need to know before participating in social media? How can adults help kids avoid digital drama?
Talk about documentaries and why they're made: to inform? To persuade? To entertain? All three? Which reaction do you think this documentary was after? Was it successful?
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