VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WVEC-TV) -- Some people have a hang up when it comes to how much time children are spending on their mobile devices -- staring into the screen texting or gaming and losing focus on other important things in life like family time and school work.
The Principal at Princess Anne Middle School supports an effort there to get kids to be more responsible – and less dependent – on their mobile devices.
To him – it's a safety issue.
"Oh absolutely," said Alex Bergren, Princess Anne Middle School Principal. "In fact, I think that we think of threats when it comes to school safety as sort of the guns and things like that. But I think some of the most significant threats that we deal with on a daily basis are cell phones and the technology."
He cites the internet as a haven for things children should not be exposed to. One student's mother says so much screen exposure has caused her 12 year-old daughter to have vision problems.
That's why she stands behind the effort to increase exposure to what they're doing at Princess Anne Middle School. They want to increase awareness to help more parents talk to their kids, who may not think anything of this at all.
The principal and other staff members are trying to help video-addicted teenagers also known as "Screenagers".
That's the name of a documentary that opened a lot of eyes to this issue.
In it, kids show how they deceive their parents to keep playing their video games. For instance, one clip has a teenage boy saying this while sitting next to his mother: "Mom. It's easy to trick her -- no offense. Hey mom it's this crazy math thing!"
"Screenagers" also explores the number of hours kids are using their cell phones and when they're using them -- sometimes well into the overnight hours texting and surfing the web and gaming.
Bella, who's 12, believes too much exposure is harmful . She says some of her friends just can't put down their cell phones."It's like their life," Bella said.
They will show the "Screenagers" documentary to the public on Thursday night, October 20th from 7 to 9 p.m. at Princess Anne Middle School. After the screening, there will be an open forum so parents and others in the audience can talk about this issue and learn how to better deal with it at home. There is a fee. For more information, call Princess Anne Middle School at 757- 648-4950.