Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Screenagers Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Docu about devices is relevant, if not revolutionary.
  • NR
  • 2016
  • 67 minutes

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 36 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 34 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Parents should be involved with their kids' access to and use of electronic devices. Monitoring kids' behavior and talking to them about what's safe, responsible, and appropriate, will help foster better parent-child relationships and may also help the young people develop better ways to interact. Communication between kids and parents is a two-way street.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The filmmaker is a concerned parent who's directly involved in the issues the film covers, framing it around how her own teenage daughter uses electronic devices to interact with her peers. Their family works hard to communicate and establish balance and trust. Experts interviewed provide lots of information about the impact of device use.


The film examines the ways that playing video games, especially violent ones, affect the ways that young people relate to each other. Clips from the games, some graphic, are shown.


Devices shown frequently, especially iPhones and some Samsung smartphones. Also computers (mostly Macs) and some video games, including Grand Theft Auto.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytyler t. May 16, 2017

Very bad and cringy

Waste of time with bad acting and dosen't answer the problems they adress.
Adult Written byNathan M. February 16, 2017

Don't Bother

This film was an hour of a one sided argument of false or made up information
Kid, 12 years old October 4, 2016

Worst, most inaccurate movie of our time

Ugh, I don't even know where to start.
Screenagers is a movie about the ups and downs of teen years. The ups and downs of on-again, off-again rules, that i... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 22, 2017

Great Documentary!

This movie made me realize how I should really start getting off my electronics and do things with real people.

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 ...

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love being safe online

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