‘Screenagers’ Coming soon to a screen near you

Film addresses overuse of digital devices among teens

A special screening of the film “Screenagers,” with a focus on “Growing Up in the Digital Age,” is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday at Kaufman Auditorium in Marquette. The film also will be shown at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 10 at Mather Elementary School in Munising and 6:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at Peterson Auditorium at Ishpeming High School. (Photo courtesy of Pixabay)

MARQUETTE — Teenagers using cell phones? It’s an everyday occurrence. However, it can get out of hand, and tempering the use of such electronic devices in the digital age is the subject of the film “Screenagers.”

The 68-minute film will be shown Monday at Kaufman Auditorium, followed by showings on Oct. 10 at Mather Elementary School in Munising and on Nov. 1 at Peterson Auditorium at Ishpeming High School.

The events, which are free to the public, begin at 6:30 p.m. those days.

Kelly Sager, regional health coordinator for the Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency, invites families, parents and kids to view “Screenagers.”

“We had so many issues last year in our community with cyberbullying, the sexting, just the extreme use of technology, kids basically becoming addicted to their devices,” Sager said.

The documentary filmmaker turned the camera on her family and the issues she was seeing with her children, she said.

“It’s kind of opening the eyes for parents and also giving them some ideas and resources for ways to manage technology use in their families,” Sager said.

According to the movie’s website, www.screenagersmovie.com, physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston learned the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens.

Ruston wondered about the impact this was causing in homes and schools.

“We know it’s not going away, so we have to find positive ways to deal with it,” Sager said.

Partners in the screenings are Marquette County Cares, or MC2; the Alger County Community Collaborative, or AC3; the Marquette County Health Department; Michigan State Police; Marquette Area Public Schools; Ishpeming Public Schools; and Munising Public Schools.

“Law enforcement is going to speak after each showing, just to kind of have a little discussion and answer questions,” Sager said.

Sager also talked about the “We Will” video contest sponsored by MC2 and funded by the NorthCare Network.

MC2 challenges students in middle school, high school and college in Marquette County to create a public service announcement in video form that supports substance use prevention in local neighborhoods.

The winners in each division will receive $500, with cash awards given for second and third places.

Cash prizes are available due to support from the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Superior Health Foundation, Rotary West, Thrivent Financial, Grandparents Teach Too, and Iris and Ronald Katers.

Last year’s theme was “I Can,” while this year it’s “We Will.”

“So, kids can kind of interpret that how they want,” Sager said.

The contest registration deadline is Nov. 30, with video submissions due Feb. 28. Winners will be announced in March.

Registration can be made at www.maresa.org and clicking on the “We Will” Prevention PSA link.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.