A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Screenagers is a documentary that will likely strike a chord with many parents. It explores how teens interact with each other using electronic device (smartphones, computers, social media, etc.) and looks at whether parents can -- or should -- try to limit or control this behavior. Many experts share their thoughts on the topics the movie covers, which include tech addiction, violent video games (some clips from the games are shown), digital citizenship, and more. It's sure to prompt conversations about family communication and responsible tech use if kids and parents watch together.
What's the story?
Filmmaker Delaney Ruston struggles with an important decision in her home: whether to give her teenage daughter an iPhone, something the girl desperately craves. And, if she does get a phone, how will Ruston and her husband manage the way she uses it? Ruston quickly realizes she's not alone in her concerns, that many parents are facing this exact same situation, and there are no easy answers. SCREENAGERS follows Ruston's journey as she examines the ways that devices, social media, and other types of electronic communication have become so ingrained in modern teens' lives.
Is it any good?
There's no doubt that Screenagers is relevant for parents and their tween/teenage kids. But while it provides an interesting peek into a parent's struggle to manage her child's screen time and arrive at some sort of sane approach to the digital age, it also feels somewhat dated, devoting a significant chunk of time to the well-covered topic of violent video games and the challenges of parenting in a world where they're easily accessible. Where's the necessary in-depth discussion of more current apps, especially those that have made headlines for very disturbing reasons, like Kik Messenger, Yik Yak, and Snapchat?
As for everything else, the advice is helpful, if not revolutionary (and somewhat alarmist in tone). And it's definitely validating for parent viewers to see and hear other families discussing the daily struggle that plagues so many. Perhaps we aren't so alone after all.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the issues raised in Screenagers. What are the main things the central family in this film is struggling with? Do these issues feel familiar? How have you handled them in your family? How can parents and kids work together?
Are some types of screen time better than others?
When should parents start talking to kids about using social media responsibly?
Should you be concerned if your kids love violent video games?
For kids who love being safe online
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.