Raising Screenagers

Ann Sherman, Nederland.   “Turn off your computer game and come help do the dishes!”  I hollered upstairs to my son.   “Quit playing around on your cellphone and try talking to the friends sitting right next to you,” I firmly suggested to my daughter.  “Turn it off; it’s bedtime,” I said in exhaustion.  “Turn. It.  Off.”

 
Why is it so hard to parent in this Digital Age?   It seems that almost every household in town may be having some sort of digital conflict or challenge within their families.  Families with toddlers struggle over whether or not to let youngsters view television programs, play with the Ipad or mom’s cellphone.  Parents with elementary aged children wonder what their children are being exposed to on computers and screens during playdates across town.  Parents of middle school children wonder how soon to buy their child a cellphone and what limits to set on its use?   Parents of teenagers have watched their adolescents retreat from most family interactions as they disappear behind screens every night or try to juggle texting while driving.

 

Parents are also being bombarded with growing expectations from work to be available online 24/7.

 
How can we embrace the positive power of technology to educate, inform, connect and entertain us while also being astutely aware of how easy it is to get sucked into endless screen time?  What are the ramifications of that anyway on our brains, our relationships, our bodies and our souls?   On Wednesday, February 15th, NMSHS is hosting the award-winning film SCREENAGERS.  Parents of all aged children are invited to come have a light dinner, watch the film, and then discuss how best to parent in a digital age.   SCREENAGERS will be followed by your choice of five breakout sessions led by counselors and local educators:

 
What’s the Big Deal?   with Kari Green, MSRN at NMSHS, and Dr. Brett Kennedy, psychotherapist.   Mindful Modeling in a Digital World with Patricia Schrader, certified mindfulness instructor.

 
Get it Back—Parental Controls with Mark Mabbett, NMSHS Librarian and Media Technician.

 
Developing a Game Plan and Building a Rule Book with Adeline Holter, therapist at TEENS, Inc and Corrie Beauvineau, NES educator.

 
Are Gaming and Cellphones making you Mad?  with Tracy Markle, digital media addiction therapist.

 
All middle and high school students at NMSHS will be viewing SCREENAGERS during school the week of Feb 15th.  This will be a great opportunity for parents and children to begin to discuss the digital agreements they want to make with each other…. and why that is so important in this day and age.

 
Dinner at 5:30pm in the NMSHS cafeteria.  Screenagers film at 6:00pm in the NMSHS auditorium.  Breakout Sessions from 7 -8:00pm.   Please RSVP to ann@teensinc.org or 720-561-4861 if you will need childcare provided.  Bring a friend and see what you think!?