Parents' Guide to

Screened Out

By Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Earnest docu takes a critical look at screen time.

Movie NR 2020 71 minutes
Screened Out Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 6 parent reviews

age 10+

Even better than expected

I was expecting this film to be informative, but it was even better than we expected. The kids (ages 17 and 21) sat down to watch for a few minutes and then stayed for the whole thing. It offers a deep look at the relationship between screens and families, corporations, privacy, behavior, and childhood. Great work.
age 10+

Excellent film for the whole family!

Sometimes we want to justify all of our screen time b/c it's just how our world is now. This film explores how screens are affecting all of, teens, and adults. It brings up great opportunity for conversations as a family without coming across as judgemental. It gives real suggestions and resources for families who want to minimize their dependence on screens and start living life on purpose again! Great film!!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (6 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This earnest documentary takes an unflinching look at people's use of smartphones and tablets, coming to the conclusion that too much screen time is bad for society, families, and individuals. Through interviews with experts, conversations with ordinary people, and scientific and academic research, Screened Out shows exactly how apps -- especially social media and gaming apps -- draw users into their screens and keep them there. Viewers also make personal connections to people who've struggled with screen addiction, people who are just trying to cut back a little bit, and people who've been damaged by their obsessions.

Director Jon Hyatt has a definite point of view, and he doesn't attempt to debate the question of whether too much screen time is good or bad. Instead, he makes sure to drive his point -- it's bad -- home with an engaging mix of data, statistics, and people's real experiences. Some points he makes come pretty close to scare tactics, like when tech company motivations and growth strategies are discussed. Think of watching Screened Out as a great opportunity for adults especially, to carefully examine their own screen use and the example they're setting. It's also an excellent starting point for families to talk about priorities, relationships with others, and strategies for bringing balance and mindfulness to their technology use.

Movie Details

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.

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.

See how we rate