On Thursday, February 27 several parents and students attended a screening of Screenagers: Next Chapter. The movie highlighted stories from teenagers and their families working through feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. The research shows that there is a growing number of middle and high school students who report having these feelings and the movie explored how these feelings may connect to the evolution of our digital worlds and the increase of taking our relationships and communication online. Following the movie, we had two of our grade 12 students support the discussion with our families. Reflecting on their experiences, Alan and Greg were able to shed light on some of the questions from the parents.
Here are a few take-aways (from the students):
- Even if parents hide the device, we’ll find a way to get to it when they’re not looking.
- Having an outlet like writing, music, sports is essential in dealing with daily stressors/anxiety
- When we first got a device we weren’t able to moderate on our own - and there was a cost to that. It’s important to bomb a few tests and assignments to really learn what your priorities are.
Some other points (mental wellness):
- Validate how your child is feeling. It’s important that we recognize their struggles, but not solve them for them.
- Share and practice in-person interactions - model working through difficult conversations in front of and with your child.
- Express emotions, rather than suppress - give your emotion a name, talk with your child about your own emotional experiences.
- Get involved in activities that connect you to other people.
And some technology strategies:
- Family values will set the foundation for how our children use their devices.
- Model the things you want to see.
- Have a tech-free zone, or tech-free time
- Acknowledge that we’re all working against an economy that is asking for our time and attention and that limiting screen time is hard - even for the informed and knowledgeable adults!
Ms. Adi Aharon