An Addiction in your Pocket: 'Screenagers' coming to the Astra

By: Corbin Lingenfelter, News Director

Jasper- When thinking of addiction, the most common ones are drugs and alcohol.

However, there is another addictive object that may be on your desk or table, or even in your own pocket. Digital devices like cell phones, video games, and TVs can become addictive if not used properly.

To help make parents aware of the potential dangers of the devices their children have, the Greater Jasper Consolidated School Corporation has found a documentary that highlights some of the things parents and their children need to be aware of. 

Screenagers is an award winning film created by Delanie Ruston, who came up with the documentary after her own daughter wanted an iPhone. The film runs around an hour and seven minutes according to Glenn Buechlein with GJCS. 

During her research into screen usage, Ruston discovered that teenagers on average spend six and a half hours a day on their devices. That’s a little over a quarter of the day. 

Screenagers was discovered by GJCS Superintendent Dr. Tracy Lorey during a conference and when she returned she asked Buechlein to look into the film for future viewings in Jasper. Buechlein later learned, though, that one of the schools in the district had already begun using the film to teach students about the dangers of too much screen time.

“During COVID in two-thousand-twenty, twenty-one, the middle school had already looked into this and started the process,” said Buechlein.

Following the films showing, a panel discussion will take place featuring school administrators, law enforcement and mental and behavioral health experts. One of those expert is Amanda Grothouse, one of GJCS’ Social Workers, who had seen nearly two-thirds of her visits were due to device use.

“Two of my five years, Miss Hughes and I tracked how many sessions were spent on something related to screens,” shared Grothouse, “Out of two years, nine hundred of my visits had six hundred to do with the phone.”

Both Buechlein and Grothouse iterated that the showing is not being used to scare parents or teenagers or make them quit cold turkey, but as a way to inform them of the dangers of device use.

“Screenagers” will be shown at the Astra Theatre in Downtown Jasper on February 8th. Doors will open at 5:30 pm with the film starting at 6:00pm est. There is no cost to attend, however the Astra will sell concessions.

Photo Credit: Greater Jasper Consolidated Facebook Page