Documentary film addresses kids and electronic devices

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- This is for all of us with kids obsessed with electronic devices. A new documentary produced in the Bay Area is resonating with parents and opening a serious dialog about the effects of too much screen time.

"I'm so distracted by my phone, so it's hard to listen to a teacher and actually understand what they are saying," said one student in the movie.

Parents like Sienna Smith know that to be true of their own kids.

"It's almost as if she has this sort of leash, a psychic leash, connected to this phone and that anytime that phone does anything, beeps, rings, vibrates, she's there," Smith said.

For the first time a documentary called "Screenagers" takes a hard look at the effects of screen time on a kids' development.

One of the creators, Lisa Tabb, is a mother and an ABC7 News producer.

"The solutions around drugs and alcohol are out there, there is a conversation going on, but there isn't a conversation and community about screen time," Tabb said.

"The game industry has designed these games to become universes where these kids enter and they don't want to come out to do math. Who wants to do math?" said Mayra Estrada, the Director of counseling at Riverdale Mental Health Association in New York.

The documentary points out that for girls these devices could have a positive and negative social impact.

"Screenagers" also offers parents needed solutions.

"My friends and I go out to eat. We all agree to put the phones in the middle of the table and whoever picks up their phone first, has to pay for the meal," said one student.

The director, Delaney Ruston, offers this advice. She said, "At first, I didn't really include [the kids] and we made these rules and that didn't work, but over time I realized how important it was to get their input."

The public will have the chance to see the documentary on Wednesday, February 10 at the Clay Theater in San Francisco.

To get tickets for "Screenagers" click here.
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