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The Wantagh school community gathered for a Dec. 17 screening of the documentary “Screenagers” in the high school auditorium to learn more about the effects of screen time on children and family life. Written by physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston, the award-winning documentary explores struggles over social media, video games and internet addiction and provides insights from authors, psychologists and brain scientists, while offering solutions on how parents can empower their children to find balance in the digital world.

Host and Secondary Supervisor of Social Studies Christopher Widmann said, “The goal here tonight is not to preach, but to be revealing. I am hoping that this documentary leads to more discussion.”

After watching the 68-minute documentary, parents divided into breakout sessions according to their student(s) age(s). Participants discussed the amount of time their families spend on screen-related activities, whether too much screen time affects learning and memory, whether violent video games desensitize teenagers and ways parents deal with kickback from their children about wanting more screen time. Parents also gave valuable advice about how to deal with constant cellphone use, social media issues and rules for screen use.

Superintendent of Schools John C. McNamara said, “What works for me and my family may not work for you. You have to decide your comfort level and have a plan.”

Director of Guidance and Family & Consumer Services Frank Muzio also weighed in on the power of technology and how it affects family time. “Technology is a powerful phenomenon. It’s about telling children what our boundaries are.”

Screenagers 2018