HILTON teenager Rosalie Lane has organised a local screening of US documentary Screenagers, in a bid to educate parents on the perils of social media.
World-wide research has revealed that if kids spend too much time on sites like Facebook and Instagram it can engender low self-esteem, isolation, lack of sleep, poor grades at school, and cyber-bullying and depression, which can ultimately lead to suicide.
“I want to get people aware, to realise this is an issue,” Ms Lane says.
The Perth Waldorf School student has based her year 12 research project on youth mental health, “because the issue was close to me because I know a lot of people who struggle.”
Ms Lane, 17, was disturbed to find a link between mental health and internet and smart phone use.
After watching Screenagers, she reduced her social media to the occasional text.
“I related to the documentary so much I’m off social media, I’m not on Facebook or Instagram,” Ms Lane says.
Not looking at what friends are doing and saying, on a daily or even hourly basis, has been a struggle.
“It’s the fear of missing out.”
Screenagers was made by US filmmaker Delaney Ruston who found that kids spent up to seven hours a day in front of a screen.
“Excessive screen time can lead to problems such as decreased attention span, problems with developing social skills and a risk of real clinical internet addiction,” says Dr Ruston, mother of a teenage daughter herself.
There’s no putting the genie back in the bottle and the documentary doesn’t advocate binning smart phones, but does come up with ways of reducing its usage.
These include parents setting a good example, making meal times phone-free zones and banning them from the bedroom.
Miss Lane hopes to recoup the money paid for Screenagers “to refund my parents, and anything over that amount I will donate to Kids Helpline.”
Screenagers is on at Perth Waldorf School, 14 Gwilliam Drive, Bibra Lake, Friday August 3, 6.30pm.
Tickets at trybooking.com/book/event?eid=395094 or phone or SMS Rosalie on 0466 231 396.
by JENNY D’ANGER