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‘Screenagers’ looks at kids growing up in digital age; free showing April 4 at Burnet High School


BURNET — Parents who believe their kids are spending too much time on their digital devices are invited to a free screening of the documentary “Screenagers — Growing up in the Digital Age.” Presented by the Burnet Consolidated Independent School District, “Screenagers” looks at the impact of smart devices on families.

A free showing is 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 4, in the Burnet High School auditorium, 1000 The Green Mile.

When physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw her own children spending a lot of time on their devices, she did some digging and and discovered the average child spends almost seven hours a day looking at screens.

Ruston takes a personal approach in “Screenagers” as she examines family life to expose the struggles over internet addiction, social media, video games, and academics. According to reports, this is the first feature documentary to explore the impact of screen technology on kids and offer parents and families proven solutions that work.

The 67-minute documentary gives four tips that families can immediately incorporate to lessen technology’s impact:

• no screens in bedrooms for younger children;

• set times and goals for tasks;

• eat family meals together without devices;

• and don’t allow devices in family vehicles.

“Screenagers” has been shown more than 6,000 times to 2 million people in more than 50 countries.

Burnet CISD employees and area youth pastors will lead break-out discussions after the viewing.

BCISD Superintendent Keith McBurnett noted that few professionals have provided adults with any advice on how to manage the screen times of their children.

“The iPhone was introduced 11 years ago,” he said. “Now, we’re playing catchup. So what’s the impact and how do we manage that?”

According to some reports, manufacturers have designed apps to be addictive to give users the feeling they’re missing something if they aren’t spending parts of their waking hours looking at their screens.

“I think it’ll create space for a conversation and create ways to manage it,” McBurnett said.

And though this documentary focuses on children, the superintendent added that technology also has an impact on adults. He said that when his phone beeps to tell him there’s a new email, he struggles with not looking to see what it’s about.

“I’ve read lots of periodicals,” he said. “We all need technology time, but we all need a break from screens.”

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