A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Products & Purchases
Devices shown frequently, especially iPhones and some Samsung smartphones. Also computers (mostly Macs) and some video games, including Grand Theft Auto.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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