SCREENagers: How growing up has changed in the digital age

Iphone screen - file photo

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Children who are now 10 years old share a birth year with one of the most well-recognized and constantly improving pieces of technology: the iPhone. Apple announced the first iPhone in 2007, with newer models coming out every year, leading to the latest iteration, the iPhone X, announced Tuesday.

Most of the children born that year have never experienced life without a smart phone, and it’s a conversation parents and teachers are having as they determine how to balance technology use at home and in the classroom in the digital age.

Cassie Pusey has two children. Her eldest, Drew, is a sophomore at Lake Travis High School. She’s worried being buried in his phone all day can lead to a life of challenges.

“It can be dangerous. Even as adults, we’re feeling a bit addicted to it,” Cassie Pusey said.

“People are more focused on their phones than their friends,” Drew Pusey said.

Cassie Pusey believes the responsibility partially falls on the people around children to serve as a role models.

“The kids are following our lead, and so if find myself checking messages during dinner, then of course they’re going to want to pick up their device during dinner,” she said.

Lake Travis senior Reed McClain feels the impact for some of his classmates goes beyond losing focus in class.

“They’re scared to be in social situations so they use their phones as a means of just hiding. Or, kids just don’t pay attention as well. There’s an adult just trying to talk to them and they’re just kind focused on their phone,” McClain said.

Technology also poses a challenged for teachers in the classroom.

“It is a challenge and there is great tension between giving them all of these resources online and then expecting them to focus on one page and one task at a time,” said LTHD English teacher Lamar Schrader.

“Screen time is a given, so we need to figure out these ideas how to make that screen time productive and challenging to where they develop the skills being able to put that screen away, or be able to interact with other human beings,” he said.

Wednesday night, Lake Travis ISD will be showing a documentary called “Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.” It will be followed by a panel discussion featuring a doctor of psychology, an eye doctor, a Travis County police officer, the LTISD director of technology, and parents.

Jorge Rodas is LIVE on KXAN News Today with what parents, teachers and children say about growing up in the digital age.

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