Faced with the daily challenge of modelling good behaviour for her children, Coun. Michelle Kirby instigated the October presentation of Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.
“The digital age is here and it’s changing our society and our kids as we speak,” said the mother of two, aged 12 and 14.
Kirby saw the film last spring during a screening at St. Michaels University School and imagined it would be a nice night out with friends.
“I walked away going ‘everybody needs to see this’. It’s so poignant,” she said. “We are in the thick of this experience and it’s new. It’s happening faster than the research can keep up with it. It’s happening faster than parents can wrap their head around how to manage it.”
Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw her own kids scrolling through life and began a quest to uncover how it might impact their development. As with her other award-winning documentaries on mental health, Ruston takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction.
“She shows the battle, she doesn’t hide now nasty it gets, and just how hard it is on the whole family to manage that addiction and anxiety,” Kirby said. “She doesn’t sugar coat how this impacts family life.”
Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, Screenagers reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and also offers solutions on how adults can empower their kids to best navigate the digital world to find balance.
“[Devices] are changing how we behave as a society and they’re definitely changing the behaviour of youth and how they interact,” Kirby said. “Hopefully we can also have a brief discussion at the end as well… because we’re literally making this stuff up as we go along. There’s no guide.”
Screenagers, an all ages documentary, is Thursday, Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. (doors at 6:30) in the Dave Dunnet Community Theatre at Oak Bay High, 2121 Cadboro Bay Rd. Learn more about the documentary at screenagersmovie.com.
Tickets are $5 per person. Register online at oakbay.ca/parks-recreation.ca or call 250-595-7946.