BAR HARBOR — Children’s interactions with technology, including social media, video games, academics and internet addiction, was the topic of “Screenagers,” a film shown last Thursday at the Jesup Memorial Library to a full house.
The film screening was the first in a series of community events on the topic, which continues at the Jesup on Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. Panelists include school social worker Edith DuBois, School Resource Officer Tim Bland, high school tech coordinator Joshua Young, high school Dean of Students Ian Braun and Trenton Elementary Principal Michael Zboray.
The hourlong film, produced and directed by physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston, weaves personal stories with scholarly interviews to describe the challenges of parenting in a digital world. In the film, Ruston proposes a handful of steps families and schools can take to help.
A recent study showed that the average 8 to 18-year-old spends 7.5 hours a day looking a screen outside of school, which includes phones, televisions and tablets. Over a year, that adds up to 114 full days watching a screen for fun.
The film drew some laughs and a few nods from the audience.
“Parents are just as responsible,” said one attendee during the discussion period after the film.
“This is about community, not just kids and parents,” another person said.
Melissa Carroll and Kendra Rand, both residents of Bar Harbor, agree. After the movie came out in 2016, they decided to organize a screening in Bar Harbor. They thought talking about those challenges as a group could help decrease some peer pressure and start a community conversation.
Rand reached out to the Jesup and other organizations to create a series of community programs on the topic.
Owen and Julia Moses, 11 and 14 respectively, came to watch the documentary with their mom and grandmother. Both said they could relate to the contents of the movie.
“It makes you think about your everyday actions,” Owen Moses said.
This program is co-sponsored by the YWCA of Mount Desert Island and the Mount Desert Island YMCA. Contact Melinda Rice, Jesup program director, at 288-4245 or [email protected].