Category Archives: Screenagers

#Screenagers: Hosting a Community #PBL Event

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This project-based learning class began their journey with the challenge to identify and understand the most pressing issues for their generation. This is a truly student-centered approach, and I have not found many other examples of this type of ground zero for #PBL. So if you know of classroom online, please let us know. After researching and writing upon these topics, some of which are teen mental health issues, ocean pollution, e-waste, hidden poverty, and automation, the students curated their learning on our classroom blog. Then the group was challenged to create a community project where they would be able to share their learning and show how they learned it. With this #PBL mantra in mind, the class navigated towards the compelling documentary Screenagers. We then researched the movie and conference called the office before we brainstormed the idea to partner with our freshmen leadership colleagues. The students are now in the exciting and challenging stages of preparing curriculum for this community program. Follow our progress on Twitter: and Instagram:

Why Teens Deserve More Credit for Their Humanity

Laura Kastner, one of the biggest influences in Screenagers explains why teens are not as bad as we make them out to be in her TedTalk “Why Teens Deserve More Credit for Their Humanity”. In Screenagers it is harder for the viewer to see her point of view because her side is highlighted as much. Dr. Kastner explains that teens have always been targeted as trouble makes even as much as 20-30 years ago. Dr. Kastner takes the science route to explain how teens are not to blame. She goes from talking about the science to the social media aspect of how teens are affected. Her main point is that parents tend to stress out and always think of the worst that could happen when it comes to teens, whenever they are in a situation that the parents are worried about. When people hear about teens in the news doing something that affects the community in a positive way,  they become overwhelmed. The reality is that teens are constantly acting in a positive way to help the community. ” Parents don’t have access to the goodness that teens show all day, if only”. This is the strongest line that Dr. Kastner states which sums up her studies of the past years.

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Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek – is an optimist who has “discovered remarkable patterns” about how great leaders, and great organizations think, act and communicate in similar ways. He is well known for his Ted Talk “Why” in 2009. This video is the third most watched video on the website with 40 million views. He is the author of Start With Why, Leaders Eat Last, Together is Better, Find Your Why, and The Infinite Game.  Simon has been researching and learning about many great leaders and how they became so successful. He focuses on human decision making and how different people can have different ways of life and still all be successful. His website is, and is focused on leadership, culture and team bonding. We haven’t seen the movie yet and would love to see how he fits in!

SIMON SINEK – Twitter: @simonsinek





How Children Live and Grow

Dr. Laura Kastner is a clinical psychologist and researcher. She studies psychology that focuses on mental and behavioral disorders. Dr. Kastner has done enormous amounts of work on child development. She currently runs her own website which includes, her biography, her works (books), articles and even her lectures. This is a very interactive website which includes teaching videos. Her role in Screenagers is to give parents an idea of how kids learn and grown. She studies the growth of a young child so she is very knowledgeable when it comes to how children act. Her books have become quite popular as well as her TedTalk and other teaching videos she has on her website. She brings alot to the table when talking about Screenagers. She has knowledge on children and how they mature which makes her very usefull.


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Dr. Leslie Walker’s Spotlight on Mental Health Issues

Dr. Leslie Walker

Dr. Leslie Walker has recently been named medical director at Penn State Children’s Hospital; she was previously chief of Division of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She is renowned for her work and passion for conducting research regarding the prevention of teen pregnancy, substance abuse, and teen drop outs. More recently her strong advocacy on keeping children safe on social media and her promotion for physical and emotional health of adolescents stems from her belief that mental health is not given enough attention. Dr. Walker recognizes that a mental health issue can be caused by more than one factor in a adolescents life; these complex problems include low self-esteem, lack of support, or the lack of food. I now look forward to viewing the movie Screenagers to find out what role she plays in the documentary.

Twitter: @AskTeenDoc

Peggy Orenstein

Peggy Orenstein is an expert who explains the science behind teenage girls. She is a renowned author and a ted talk speaker who has written numerous books on teenage girls. Some of her books in the field such as cinderella ate my daughter are considered very influential for those trying to understand their daughters. in screenagers she attempts to explain how sensitive and vulnerable teenage girls are at this time while having to deal with unreasonable expectations and standards. She is used to describe the effect of screens on teenagers from a feminist point of view that wants to eliminate some of the consistent problems women encounter that are exacerbated by screens. She is widely considered a premium speaker for women and girls while using a scientific point of view to describe these issues.

Institute of Digital Media and Child Development


The Institute of Digital Media and Child Development provides general advice for parents about how to raise and nurture a child while remaining conscious of the positives and negatives of screen time. This is a research-based organization, and they receive most of their funding from independent donors and grants. They claim to be “…America’s only independent, interdisciplinary research organization devoted to understanding the impact of media and technology on toddlers, adolescents, and children,” and they use this distinction to try to lobby for more research on the effects of screens. They host conferences and talks about the development of adolescences and the effect of screens on this process, and they seem to be in the forefront of the field. There are a multitude of articles on this site, both news and research-based, about the effects of screen time on developing children. This organization most likely provided Screenagers with a large portion of the information that was used in the film, and can be a key player in our own research, as a large portion of the information available about the topic of screens and development can be found here.

Creating a Better Future for Young Parents

Dimitri Christakis created a program that teaches young parents parenting skills. The program is called “Bright Start” and aims towards first-time mothers. The team of experts is teaching first-time moms “how to create better learning environments.” Bright Start wants young parents to avoid screen time with their children and instead play something like board games. The program will actively follow these families and track strategies to help with their child’s development. Ultimately, Dimitri is the leader behind this study and is trying to cut down on screen use until kids have developed past the age of four. The goal is to help create a model for young parents nationwide and to deliver a plan to manage screen use.

DIMITRI CHRISTAKIS, MD – Twitter: @DAChristakis

Helping first-time mothers


Nicholas Carr Explains the Science Behind Screen Use

Twitter: @roughtype

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A picture of Nicholas Carr

Nicholas Carr- is a an author of innovative books on technology, some titled The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains and his Pulitzer Prize-nominated book The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us and has contributed to the World’s Economic Forum cloud on a computing project. His books discuss topics such as how technology has affected our thoughts and perceptions along with how people have become dependent on computers, robots, and apps, and how this has affect us personally and socially. In the movie, Screenagers, he explains a scientific reason why people want to be on their phones. He reports that “studies indicate that dopamine- a pleasure-producing brain chemical–seems to be released whenever people find or seek out new information and if [one carries] around a smartphone, you are always pulling it out and glancing at it because you want that release of the pleasure-producing chemical.” His blog . One blog post of his “Chaos and control: the story of the web” could be an interesting read for our class because it examines about evolution of things and how technology began to advance culture. Along with his blog, Nicholas Carr also uses his Twitter account to share what he has found about smartphones and how they affect us. His Twitter account is interesting because he does not follow anyone, which is very unique.

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Nino Ramirez Expert From Screenagers

Twitter: @ninoramirez

Nino Ramirez is a director of brain research at the Seattle’s Children Hospital. He is a leading scientist, who focuses on how spending a good deal of time on a screen can negatively but also positively affect your memory, as well as your learning. It is very important to have a neuroscientist on a movie such as Screenagers because he is able to give accurate data as to what the effects of screens are on a child’s developing brain. Also, he can explain why we need to stop using our phones so much, and show us what can eventually happen when we overwhelm our brains with our too much screen time.