Saturday, July 04, 2020

“Screening Our Future,” an initiative introduced in September 2019 aimed at resetting how our children approach technology, invites the entire community to “Screenagers,” a documentary focusing on raising kids in the digital age. The event will take place on Monday, November 18, and promises to offer insight, tools and take-home information about a topic that is extremely relevant to most of our daily lives.

“Screenagers,” created and directed by Delaney Ruston, a physician and film director, describes growing up in a tech-saturated world where it is her opinion that balance needs to be drawn between screen time and screen-free time. The film looks at the challenges presented by technology and illustrates different strategies that parents can use to help kids intelligently navigate internet use. Produced in 2016, “Screenagers” imparts a critical message to viewers and certainly opens up an opportunity for dialogue about an issue that can be overwhelming for so many.

“We have been overwhelmed by the positive response from parents,” said Rabbi Jonathan Knapp, principal of Yavneh Academy. “People recognize that we need a culture shift and a rebalancing of our cell phone usage.” Rabbi Knapp has parents reporting how the conversations at home are changing as well. Most notably, the children themselves seem relieved, he said. “We just returned from a three-day retreat with our seventh graders. Though originally concerned when we explained phones would not be permitted, in the end they thanked us, as the lack of phones enabled them to engage more deeply in the program and with one another.”

“Screenagers” addresses questions that are likely on the minds of many, including when is it appropriate to offer a child a device with internet access and how to monitor usage once that has occurred. The film imparts a vital message and offers excellent takeaway strategies that most parents are searching for.

The documentary will be followed by a presentation and Q&A session by the renowned Dr. David Pelcovitz. A leading education professor at Yeshiva University’s Azrieli Graduate School for Jewish Education and an expert in the field of parenting and child psychology, Dr. Pelcovitz will attempt to provide answers to many of the questions and conflicts faced by parents of children growing up in the digital age.

“This type of initiative can only be successful with the full support of our rabbis, community leaders and parents,” said Rabbi Chaim Hagler, principal of Yeshivat Noam. “In order to truly move the needle, we need everybody to get on board.”

The event will take place at Yeshivat Frisch, 120 W. Century Road, Paramus, and will begin at 7:30 p.m. For more information, please email [email protected]

By Andrea Nissel