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Teens, Technology, and the Need for a Listener: Part II

by Jane Wangersky | December 25th, 2015 | Behavior, Teens

social media (400x400)Our interview with Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, creator of the short film The Truth, continues.

What can parents do to teach their teens boundaries in social media and other online sharing?

I think the simplest thing is to not allow social media use unless you are privy to it if you choose. This may aggravate your child, but just as you wouldn’t leave a 15-year-old downtown in a saloon, so you should have the right to know where your kid is in cosmic space! I like to try to keep kids out of locked bedrooms and would encourage when possible that they do their social media at the kitchen table or sitting with you in the family room.

Lastly, it will help if you don’t go around glued to your phone or sit too long with your computer. Be an example. No technology at meals, etc. Never forget that the example you set is being observed very closely.

You’ve published two fictional books and produced a play expressing your message. How did you decide to make a film? Did it just seem like the natural next step?

Two factors led to making a film: One was my love of the cinema and the belief that the screen lends itself to a magnetic effect that can draw the audience into a character’s very being. I wanted that for the “Girl” in my books, The Truth and Secrets, because she is such a universal figure. She is a bit of all of us, boys also. Everyone has had a first crush, most of us have to move at least once growing up, parents fight, siblings can be a nuisance, friends come and go, parents don’t always understand, moods and feelings get ignored or misunderstood or even punished, etc. So I knew the “Girl” had to come alive on the screen at some point. It was just a matter of timing and courage.

That leads to the second factor. I was taken with Cassidy Terracciano as a talented young actress, from the time I saw her play Anne Frank. I knew she could make the “Girl” come alive in a film with the intensity I was looking for. If she were willing to be my star, then I was going to wait no longer. She said, “Yes,” and as they say the rest is history.

Where will viewers be able to see your film?

The film is about to be entered in Film Festivals around the world. My hope is that it will be seen by lots of people in many places. My goal is to turn this short film into a full length feature film. If you have a Film Festival near you, look for it under the Short Films. And come back to to find out other ways to see the film.

Dr. Holstein adds, “A great way to open the gates to communicating more successfully with your child, tween or teen is to read together The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween, and/or Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen. Just about every page in both books lend themselves to discussion.”

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