Teenagers discuss ‘Screenagers’


Saijleen Chawla

A student panel leads an interactive discussion along with the viewing of the documentary “Screenagers.” This documentary features the wide-spread use of technology and the impact it is having on today’s youth.

Saijleen Chawla, Staff Writer

Last week, with the assistance of guidance counselor Connie Patterson, Starr’s Mill High School showed a free screening of the 2015 documentary “Screenagers.” This documentary describes the widespread use and overuse of technology and social media in today’s age, along with the impact that it may have on high school students. Not only was the “Screenagers” movie set up in Willie Duke Auditorium to watch for whomever wished to come, but there was a panel of students from National Honor Society that led the post screening discussion, enriching the already valuable experience of the documentary.

Saijleen Chawla
An audience member joins in the discussion about the “Screenagers” documentary. The documentary included this interactive discussion so that students and parents may share their opinions about the subject.

“The Screen Panel presented themselves in a professional manner, and their explanations helped open the older audience’s eyes and ears while providing insight to the younger audience,” Starr’s Mill parent Eileen Craner said.

There were eight students on the panel, and each student had one question about differing aspects of technology that they asked the audience.

“The students came up with these questions on the spot,” NHS sponsor Amber Boyd said.

The audience did their best to answer the question and it helped open up more areas of discussion that they introduced themselves.

“I tried to ask vague questions so the audience could bring up most of the ideas,” panel member and senior Dana Gould said.

For example, there was an idea introduced inverting the correlation between violent video games and the behavior of students. The audience members believed that violent video games was not the cause of violent behavior. Children who already behaved violently were naturally attracted to these kind of games.

In the audience, there was a mixture of parents, teachers, and students who shared their opinions on the subject. Here, age was nothing more than a number, for there was also a member in the sixth grade who shared her own beliefs on the topic.

Kat Symons, an NHS member, had a heart-to-heart conversation with the middle schooler. There was also an eighth grader who had recently started attending Rising Starr Middle School who believed that technology and smartphones have made it very difficult for him to mingle. A preschool teacher conveyed her disappointment when she saw her young students as owners of a smartphone, using evidence from the “Screenagers” Movie to support her opinion.

After the audience added their input into the conversation, the student panel had opinions of their own that they shared with listeners. There were many instances of when panel members and audience members disagreed.

“An impact won’t really be made until this entire auditorium is completely filled up,” one of the parents said.

However, it is just a start. This free screening is only the beginning of future events held in the purpose to educate Fayette County of the new era of technology.

“I hope that [“Screenagers”] will be an eye opener for students and parents alike,” Guidance Counselor Connie Patterson said.