What’s the first thing you do when you get up? Checking your phone (whether or not with a cup of coffee). What’s the last thing you do before going to bed? Setting your alarm on your phone (after which you still scroll through Instagram).
While we all have our own different and unique lives, it’s more similar than you might think, especially when it comes to our social media use. That’s without a doubt one of the elements you will take away with you after watching “Screened Out” from director Jon Hyatt.
Even though it focuses on teenagers and their use of technology, this eye-opening, real-life, and straightforward documentary will apply to you too.
Hyatt (“Woods”, “Return”) is giving us an up-close look into his own life. Living with his wife and kids, they seem to be a happy family. However, just like any of us, they’re suffering (or in their case: suffered) from an addiction to… technology and mobile phones. Yep, this documentary learns that addiction can also start without the use of any substance.
That we, and in particular young people, are being addicted to our screens is being proved by the astonishing research. 70% of us are on our phones for between 3-5 hours a day. Teens use it for a massive 6-9 hours a day.
It’s even more daunting when we learn that kids aged between 0-8 use mobile devices for an average of 3 hours a day. They can barely talk but they use technological devices like a pro. How did we come this far?
Don’t expect to be bombarded with only statistics, numbers, and complicated information. No, Hyatt wants to make this documentary about people like you and me and especially about average teenagers and their parents.
This happens through interviews with parents, teachers, and teens themselves and it becomes clear right from that start that posting a picture, getting a like, or receiving a positive or negative comment, can make or break your day.
While there’s nothing new under the sun, it’s very important to re-learn that well-known lesson again. Technology improves cognitive function, motor skills, and makes people feel safe. However, sadly, they might feel to say and will never be able to know what’s like to have a face-to-face conversation. The only conversations they have are on social media platforms.
Platforms that are specifically designed (whether the creators want to like to admit it or not) to keep people engaged and keep them scrolling many hours a day. The world teens see on social media becomes the ‘real world’ and it’s a world in which you need to be amazingly good looking, have many friends, owning a lot of money and living in the most modern house possible.
So what happens if you don’t have any of those things. Well, a rise in teen suicide, bullying, and self-harm. That’s what happens.
To make sure that this heart-breaking ‘news’ hit home hard, we got to know a thirteen-year-old girl who tried to commit suicide because she didn’t fit in the so-called Instagram world.
Finding your daughter standing on her window ledge because she doesn’t have the ‘perfect’ body or an extremely busy life is something you don’t want to see as a parent.
What we would have loved to see, was just a little bit more of this. This is because we all feel connected to this documentary in one way or another. “Screened Out” only lasts 70 minutes but just like social media itself, there’s still so much to discover and re-discover.
Whether you’re a parent, teenager, or adult, “Screened Out” is a really enjoyable, important, and lifelike documentary that shows the good, the bad, and the addictive of technology.
“Screened Out” is available via iTunes from the 1st of June.