One of the posters used to promote the movie "Screenagers" Photo by

On Monday, November 13, CGHS shut down and all of the students and staff congregated in the auditorium to watch “Screenagers,” in a special screening put together by the  guidance department. The movie was a little over half the actual run-time, and it focused on how social media, and screen-time in general, affects the brain developmentally, but also causes problems in school with student focus and bullying.

The message is a very important one, as people of all ages are constantly on their phones. Whether it is in school, waiting in the doctor’s office, or even at the dinner table, children and adults alike are consumed by their devices. As someone who is an offender, after stepping back and looking objectively at it, I hate how consumed all of us are. This obsession with technology hurts communication with one another; we are not able to communicate effectively and our face-to-face communication skills have decreased.
“Screenagers” did not focus so much on the social impacts that technology has, but more on the developmental issues that technology causes. It showed how, over time, technology can damage the processing skills in children and teens. In a dramatic fashion, they showed how technology has the same effects that drugs do on the human brain. When watching the other parts, I was mildly interested, but not shocked. It made sense that phones and elongated exposure to technology can have negative effects. However, when they started comparing phones to drugs, my curiosity perked up. It made sense that people can be addicted to phones, people have addictions to a lot of things. Though interesting and valid, it seemed to be very exaggerated. It showed the story of a college student who began to fail school because of his addiction to video games and then had to go to rehab because of his addiction. This did not resonate well with the students. Dom Bryant ‘18 felt the same way, saying that, “It was informative but, at the same time, the way that they went about talking about some of the topics didn’t really portray well enough to relate to the high school kids.”      

Though this was one of the parts that ruined the movie for many of the students, they did not react appropriately at all. From the moment it began and all four grades were corralled in, it looked like trouble was ahead. This proved true, especially during the part that dealt with bullying and teens sending and posting inappropriate pictures. Many of the boys in all grades made noises when they showed pictures that girls posted on Instagram, and it even prompted Mr. Mangili to reprimand us during the film, something that the administrators hoped to avoid.

Though many of the students thought that it was funny that the way the students acted, there was a large portion that were unhappy and disappointed with the behavior. One of these students is Kent Palacio ‘21, who said that it was disrespectful and, “Some people like laughed through the entire thing,” which hurt the students that wanted to pay attention.

Even though the topic of technology addiction is an important one in our society today, the film did not seem to have a big impact on our student body, and even now it is a topic of discussion and students make jokes to one another that they “are screenagers.” This presentation was put together by our guidance counselors, with the main push coming from our new SAC counselor Mrs. Defabiis. She expressed deep concern for the students, hoping to help change the tech-obsessed culture at CGHS.

Whether or not we like it, phones are affecting our lives both positively and negatively, and we need to accept that and find ways to use our phones more wisely. “We thought it was important to get that message out there that it’s not just the fact that it’s affecting their daily lives, but that, developmentally, it may not be good for you.”