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'Screenagers' documentary addressing tech's effect on kids to be shown at middle school in Carroll County

A showing of the film "Screenagers — The Impact of the Digital Age on Children" will be held at Oklahoma Road Middle School on March 7 for students and parents.
A showing of the film "Screenagers — The Impact of the Digital Age on Children" will be held at Oklahoma Road Middle School on March 7 for students and parents. (Courtesy photo)

The challenges of parenting are different than they were even a decade ago as parents and guardians are faced with guiding their children through the use of technology that pervades every part of modern life and didn’t exist when they were growing up.

The Oklahoma Road Middle School PTA and Freedom District Lions Club will be presenting the film “Screenagers — The Impact of the Digital Age on Children” at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the school, 6300 Oklahoma Road in Eldersburg.

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More than 170 people have already signed up to attend. Guests should plan to register ahead online at www.impactflow.com.

The screening is open to the public.

Judy Klinger, supervisor of school counseling, will be moderating a question-and-answer session after the film.

“Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span?” the producers of “Screenagers” ask.

The documentary was created by physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston after experiences parenting her own children led her to wonder about the effect of technology on her own children.

She had previously created two other award-winning documentaries on topics surrounding mental health, and sought out the expertise of authors, psychologists, and brain scientists as well as her own lived experience to dive into the “vulnerable corners of family life” that deal with social media, academic performance and addiction.

The film aims to offer solutions for parents and guardians trying to help their kids navigate the waters of what the filmmakers call “the most pervasive parenting issue of our time.”

Scott Walthour, vice president of the Oklahoma Road Middle School PTA, said the film deals with topics that are urgent to that age group.

“I see it in my children,” he said. “These issues come up every day.”

The film has been shown at Carroll schools in previous years, and he said there was good feedback from audience members.

Prior to the 2017 screening, Celeste Jordan, a member of the Carroll County Education Association executive board, said the film isn’t anti-cellphone, but rather a chance to look at research done on brain development of kids who spend time using devices.

“I think they kind of need to find that balance between being online and also just being present with the people they’re with,” Jordan added.

Oklahoma Road Middle has been supportive to the event, he said. The planners have seen an unexpected number of RSVPs.

“We’ve been very surprised,” he said. “I think we’ll break 200 easily.”

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For more information on the film, visit www.screenagersmovie.com.

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