CONNECT Summit County sponsors events to discuss the dangers of smart phones on teens |

CONNECT Summit County sponsors events to discuss the dangers of smart phones on teens

The average U.S. child receives their first smartphone at the age of 10. Almost immediately, they spend about 4.5 hours a day on it.

These statistics, among others, from the book “iGen” will be shared at multiple events throughout Summit County during the presentation “Communicating and connecting with your tween and teen in the age of smartphones and social media.” The free events are sponsored by the nonprofit CONNECT Summit County, in partnership with the Summit County Library, Park City Library and Summit County Health Department.

Shauna Wiest, executive director of CONNECT, said that the 90-minute presentation will provide parents with information and resources to be able to help their children navigate the technology-saturated world.

The kick-off event was set to take place at North Summit High School on Tuesday. On Wednesday, March 7, the presentation is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Park City Library. Another presentation is set for Thursday, March 8, at the Kimball Junction branch of the Summit County Library. The final presentation is set to be given on March 13 during South Summit School District’s Opportunities Night.

The event will begin with an introduction from Wiest, followed by presentations from representatives of the Summit County Health Department, who will discuss suicide statistics in the state and how the county is responding. Then, there will be a short video about addictions to smartphones and a presentation from health care providers. It will conclude with a question-and-answer session from a panel, which will include local teens.

Wiest said that she hopes parents walk away with a better understanding of the research on smartphone addictions, mental health implications and what to look for to identify anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation. She also wants parents to know how to talk to their children if they feel there is a problem.

“It’s a cultural change that most parents, unless they are looking closely at it, are not going to be aware of,” she said. “We want to create awareness and empower parents to have these critical conversations with their kids.”

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