about screenagers

An award-winning film that probes into the vulnerable corners of family life and depicts messy struggles over social media, video games and academics. The film offers solutions on how we can help our kids navigate the digital world.

synopsis

Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span? Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw that with her own kids and learned that the average kid spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time—friction she knew all too well.

In SCREENAGERS, as with her award-winning documentaries on mental health, Delaney takes a deeply personal approach as she probes into the vulnerable corners of family life, including her own, to explore struggles over social media, video games, academics and internet addiction. Through poignant, and unexpectedly funny stories, along with surprising insights from authors, psychologists, and brain scientists, SCREENAGERS reveals how tech time impacts kids’ development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

filmmaker

DELANEY RUSTON
Documentary Filmmaker & Primary Care Physician

Delaney Ruston

Delaney Ruston chose her two career paths of primary care physician and documentary filmmaker for one reason: to help create positive change in people’s lives. Her experiences receiving medical care in free clinics while growing up motivated her to pursue health care. During her medicine residency, she began studying filmmaking for social impact and made her first award-winning film.

For twenty years Delaney has split her time between providing primary care and creating short and feature-length documentaries, such as Screenagers. Examples of her other films include Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia about her father and Hidden Pictures about global mental health. These films have been screened widely, aired on PBS, and were at the forefront of advocacy campaigns, including with the World Health Organization. For her work in using films to building movements, Delaney has won several awards including Harvard’s McLean National Council Recognition Award and New York’s Fountain House Advocacy Award.

Delaney trained at Stanford Medical School, followed by a medicine residency at UC San Francisco. She has practiced and taught medicine in diverse settings including faculty positions at The University of Washington School of Medicine and at The Center for Medical Humanities, Bioethics and Compassionate Care at Stony Brook School of Medicine, NY.

Ruston has conducted investigative research in diverse fields—including biophysics at NIH, bioethics, and communication at UCSF and behavioral health as a Fulbright Scholar. She has spent the past six years intensely researching the impact of screen time on youth and solutions for screen time balance.

film team

Delaney Ruston

DELANEY RUSTON
Writer / Director / Producer / Cinematographer / Editor

Delaney Ruston is a Stanford trained physician, mother of teens, and international speaker who makes documentaries to foster social change. Along with creating Screenagers, she has made other award-winning films such as Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia, about her father and Hidden Pictures about global mental health. A Fulbright Scholar and former researcher in Bio-Ethics and Communication, Dr. Ruston has been faculty at top medical universities. She has been the featured speaker at places such as Google, The United Nations, Facebook, Harvard, and at conferences and schools worldwide. For her work in using film in launching advocacy movements, Delaney has won several awards. Along with her film and advocacy work, Delaney provides medical care to the underserved and homeless. Full bio

Lisa Tabb

LISA TABB
Producer/Executive Producer

Lisa Tabb is the co-producer and co-executive producer of Screenagers. She has spent 29 years as a news producer, magazine publisher and editor, and entrepreneur. Tabb mother of two teenagers. For 15 years she produced news at ABC 7 News in San Francisco, with a focus on trends around parenting and raising kids and emerging technologies. Prior to television, Lisa started the first ecotravel magazine in the U.S, EcoTraveler. She went on to have a long career in running adventure travel publishing. She is the co-author of Beyond Vegas in which she writes about marrying her husband in 10 countries. Lisa has worked with schools on fundraising and education initiatives in Northern California where she lives.

Erik Dugger

ERIK DUGGER
Editor

Erik Dugger has edited documentaries including Little White Lie, The Magic Life, Present Perfect, and Supergirl. He was also the supervising editor of the Peabody Award-winning No Le Digas A Nadie. Erik’s work has screened at film festivals including Slamdance, DOC NYC, and the Hamptons International Film Festival. It has also been featured on the Sundance Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, A&E Biography, as well as PBS’s Independent Lens and POV series.

Geoff Schaaf

GEOFF SCHAAF
Cinematographer

Geoff Schaaf is a Los Angeles-based award-winning cinematographer with over 35 years of experience. His credits include feature films such as Her Lucky Star, and Midnight Heat, and feature documentaries Eat, Drink, Laugh, The Wall Street Conspiracy and One Germany: The Other Side of the Wall. TV documentaries include Middle Ages, Sharks of Rangiroa and Tour de France. He is currently working on the feature documentary Wounded Warriors. Geoff has 13 Emmy Nominations and 4 Emmy Awards.

Paul Brill

PAUL BRILL 
Composer

Paul Brill has composed over sixty films as well as many TV shows. He has won several Emmys and awards for his music. He has composed films that have screened at Sundance, Tribeca, other top festivals, PBS and HBO. His films include Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Freakonomics, The Devil Came on Horseback and Page One: Inside New York Times.

experts in the film

Sherry Turkle Screenagers Expert

SHERRY TURKLE, PHD

Distinguished psychology professor at MIT, Turkle studies the social and psychological effects of technology. Named Woman of the Year by Ms. Magazine, she has written five books, including Alone Together and Reclaiming Conversation.

Simon Sinek Screenagers Expert

SIMON SINEK

Sinek is an internationally recognized thought leader in the area of human behavior and motivation. His TED Talk ranks among the five most viewed of all time. His best-selling books include Start With Why and Why Leaders Eat Last.

Peggy Orenstein Screenagers Expert

PEGGY ORENSTEIN

A nationally renowned author and speaker on issues related to teenage girls, Orenstein’s books include The New York Times best-sellers Cinderella Ate My Daughter and School Girls. Her articles have appeared in The New Yorker, O, The Oprah Magazine and Vogue, among others.  

Nicholas Carr Screenagers Expert

NICHOLAS CARR, MD

Carr, a former contributor to the World Economic Forum’s cloud computing project, has written multiple groundbreaking books on technology and culture, including The Shallows, What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains and the Pulitzer Prize-nominated The Glass Cage: How Our Computers Are Changing Us.

dimitri Christakis Screenagers Expert

DIMITRI CHRISTAKIS, MD

Christakis is an internationally renowned researcher in child development, having published more than 170 research articles in this area. His work focuses on how early experiences affect children and how parents can improve their children's early learning environments.

Leslie Walker Screenagers Expert

LESLIE WALKER, MD

Dr. Walker, Chief of Adolescent Medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital, is an authority on teen addictive behaviors. A highly respected pediatrician, Walker is invited to speak to parents and teens across the country about many health issues including addiction prevention.

Nino Ramirez Screenagers Expert

NINO RAMIREZ, PHD

Nino Ramirez is the director of the Center for Integrative Brain Research at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. A leading brain scientist, Ramirez‘s research team focuses on the effects of screen time on memory and learning.

Laura Kastner Screenagers Expert

LAURA KASTNER, PHD

A clinical psychologist and researcher, Kastner is the author of several highly regarded books including Getting to Calm and Wise-Minded Parenting. She is invited to speak to the media and parent groups nationwide on topics related to family dynamics and child development.

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testimonials

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“Screenagers is a very balances, sympathetic and sane look at the way millions of teens are struggling with phones and games and technology in general.”

Dave Eggers, Author

“We had a response to this screening like we haven’t seen for other events. I think the best thing it is doing is opening conversations for families and in the communities.”

April M., PTA Parent Education Rep, Solana Beach, CA

“As the mother of three kids… we’re all worried about how much is too much. For any of you wrestling with this issue, I loved the documentary. It combines smart insights and practical tips for raising happy, healthy, technologically empowered teens.”

Melinda Gates

“Amazing documentary… very relevant for parents, teachers and students. Many parents left asking when we were going to show it again because they wanted to bring their friends.”

John H., Vice Principal, Elk Grove, CA

“We are considering showing it again in the spring… one of the best events we have hosted.”

Julia T, Head of Upper School, Ann Arbor, MI

“Students and parents alike loved this film. It addressed everyone’s concerns and opened up important conversations about the impact of screen time.”

Katherine G., Assistant Head of School, North Dartmouth, MA

“It’s a MUST SEE for anyone with kids in their lives!”

Martha Adams, Chief Creative Officer for Girl Rising

“Thank you for providing this incredible resource. This documentary has begun some incredible dialogue among families and we are extraordinarily grateful.”

Nicole B., Assistant Youth Pastor, Calgary, Canada

“Great way to spark a conversation about one of the most important issues in raising children… also alarmingly applicable to adults.”

Peter L., Instructional Technology Specialist, Brewster, NY