In the News
The second installment of the Prep Community Speaker Series took place in November, as parents gathered to view Screenagers. The award-winning documentary by Dr. Delaney Ruston captures the filmmaker’s desire to find balance for her two teenage children as they increasingly desire to spend more time on their phones. Backed by research on the impacts of screen time on the brain, the film provides practical tips for finding balance.
Following the film, a panel of deans and students discussed technology use at Prep among students. Each panelist took on a particular area of discussion, highlighting their own perspectives and answering questions from the audience. Dean of Students Midge Kimble covered technology and school culture, while 9th Grade Dean/Dean of Student Life Barrett Jamison used his time to describe students’ thoughts and recommendations on technology. Ricardo Rodriguez, 10th Grade Dean, talked about technology at home and modeling good behavior. Madeline Montes ’21 and Aiden Schraeder ’18 talked about technology from their own perspectives. In addition to being deans and faculty members, both Jamison and Rodriguez have daughters in 7th grade at Prep.
Mr. Jamison’s research with senior peer counselors offered a fair number of practical insights. For example, some students appreciate limits on technology, because technology is often used as a form of procrastination. With less procrastination, students get more sleep.
But the student panelists were quick to note that students at Prep seem to have a good (and often self-imposed) handle on their use of technology. Though phones are in use during free blocks of time at school, the panelists noted they are not a distraction in class. Every class has different rules about devices, they said, and students often are too busy to be very attached to their screens. Both student panelists try to be mindful about why they are picking up their phones and find it easy to turn their phones off when they need to focus on their work.
“If Prep students aren’t getting their work done, it’s a big deal, because this is a tough school, and our kids are competitive—they already know how to manage their time,” Aidan Schraeder said.
Here is some sensible advice from the film and the discussion:
- Talk about technology rules together as a family to find a set of rules that works for everyone.
- Parents should be mindful of their own tech use, model good behavior, and enforce rules consistently.
- Devices should not be at the dinner table, in the bathroom, or in the car.
- Devices should be set aside during face-to-face conversations.
- At bedtime, devices should be moved outside of the bedroom.
After a winter hiatus, the Speaker Series returns in the second semester with two events:
STEAM, Leadership and Global Studies Initiatives
Tuesday, February 6. Refreshments will be served at 6:45, and the program will begin at 7:00 pm in Norris Auditorium.
Susan Stiffelman, MFT
Tuesday, April 10. Refreshments will be served at 6:30, and the program will begin at 7:00 at La Cañada Presbyterian Church.
For more information on both of these events, visit www.flintridgeprep.org/speaker-events.