‘Screenagers: The Next Chapter’ event offered movie, discussion on teen mental health in digital age

On right, Laura Caruso, executive director of Pelham Together, before the screening. (Xavi Stoffel)

A free screening of “Screenagers: The Next Chapter” on Thursday brought to the community a documentary that explores teenage depression and anxiety and how teens use screens to step away from the outside world. The viewing of the film at the Picture House was followed by a discussion.

Pelham Together organized the event with the Pelham Memorial High School PTA and the school district “so we can bring information to the parents and the schools about how to best support young people in their use of screens, keep them healthy and well while using screens,” said Laura Caruso, executive director of Pelham Together. “I hope that parents get more of an appreciation of what it’s like to be a teenager today. And I hope the teens who are here to talk with the community get a chance to share with adults how we can best support them.”

The film is a sequel to “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age,” which Pelham Together screened five years ago. Last week’s viewing was one of several events held as part of Digital Citizenship Month in the school district.

After the screening, Pelham teenagers discussed the documentary sitting on the stage of the Picture House. (Xavi Stoffel)

After the documentary, Caruso invited teens and adults to talk about the movie and their experiences with similar troubles. Luis Barcelo, Dr. Pavithra Mandappa, Conor Bryan, Manu Naik, Julia Findikyan and Kate Powers all explained the parts of the movie they connected with and learned something from.

“I really liked it,” said Sade Fox. “I thought that was very good, and I thought there was a lot of very good points that were talked about, and it got a lot of sides of the conversations.”

“I learned so many things,” said Liza Benner. “I will say one of the takeaways that I was just thinking about is how one in the same is mental health and screen time. They’re really now one issue right now for teenagers. I wouldn’t say it changed my perspective, but I would say it made me appreciate how aware and mature teens can be about really important issues.”