KINGMAN – The alarm goes off in the morning, you grab your phone to look at the notifications from Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. You're at the dinner table and you look up from your plate to see your family swiping through various social media accounts or playing Candy Crush instead of engaging in a conversation. Has this become the new social norm? Whatever did happen to engaging in face-to-face conversation?
"Screenagers" is a documentary about how parents are faced with the struggles over social media, video games, internet addiction and finding a balance between those and family interaction.
Dr. Delaney Ruston, a primary care physician and the director of the documentary, thought of the idea when her daughter’s flip-phone broke and she demanded a smartphone. That was the catalyst for Ruston to do some research on how screens were affecting the developing brain.
The Psyched Out Club, Student Activities Council and Dean Fred Gilbert at Mohave Community College-Neal campus are bringing this documentary to middle schools in Kingman.
Kayla Crowe, president of the Psyched Out Club, thought of showing the documentary as a club event, but then Gilbert decided to make it bigger and available to the public.
“At the end of the day, a smartphone is a tool, and if we are not using that tool correctly, like any other tool, we can get hurt by it,” Crowe said.
The goal is to bring awareness to the students that a phone is a tool for use and not for the tool to use the person.
“(It’s) the demographic that is still young enough to learn a habit,” she said. “(The) younger the bracket we can get to, the sooner this knowledge could become implemented and embodied.”
During the documentary showing at MCC, the audience will answer live questions and discover their technology habits.
Gilbert says that the device has good sides to it but needs moderation.
“We haven’t put those boundaries out there for this (cellphone) device,” Gilbert said.
Kingman Academy of Learning Executive Director Susan Chan is in support of the documentary being shown to her students.
“From an education point of view, there’s too much time spent on screens and not enough communication with humans,” she said.
Gilbert encourages parents of middle schoolers to attend the viewings at the schools to understand the magnitude of what is happening.
“We can start the conversation and hope it will keep rolling in the car on the way home,” Crowe said.
There will be a free public showing for the community to attend at 6 p.m. Thursday at MCC Building 200, Room 204.
The school showings are as follows: 7:30 a.m. May 1 at White Cliffs Middle School; 1 p.m. May 1 at Kingman Middle School; 12:45 p.m. May 2 at Black Mountain Middle School including Mt. Tipton sixth graders.
The Kingman Academy Middle School viewing was set to show today but will be rescheduled at a later date due to the walkout by teachers.