Summer screen time conundrum

Screen Time versus Reading

Challenge students to abandon their screen this summer for one hour of reading every day. Who knows, they might not be able to put the book aside after just one hour!Summer Reading

We are about to begin summer break and chances are, after the initial trip to the beach or mountains; if you are a parent you will hear the phrase “I’m bored.” With teenagers, however, you might not hear a single word for hours because they are “glued to a screen.” It is essential to teach our students to self-regulate and put the devices away for a time. Our constant need in schools and as parents to “control” access to devices is not teaching our children self-control. And the flip side is that many teens are given complete control of screen time during the summer, and they are not ready to manage this on their own. The challenge of screen time is not going away, and we need to prepare teens for adulthood with time management skills. According to the study Teens, Social Media & Technology Overview 2015  by Amanda Lenhart “24% of teens go online almost constantly,” facilitated by the widespread availability of smartphones.” Just last month, I surveyed students about screen time and found that almost half of my students are constantly online and have their email and social media like SnapChat set with notifications. About 10% had these notifications nearby all day and all night.

Consequently, you might ask, “What does any of this have to do with school libraries?” Well, I think we can help parents with education and alternatives for their teens during the summer. First, make sure to communicate all of your local public library’s programming for children and teens.  You might also have special events throughout the summer at your school library. Additionally, you might make the reading challenge to your students as mentioned in earlier KQ blog posts.  I modified the reading challenge for my students.

For parents who have lost their children or teens to screen time, you can offer the following articles that give techniques for teaching self-regulation.

Regulating Screen Time – How and Why

For Help with Boredom

Activity Books

There are lots of things to do inside and outside to take a break from technology this summer. As a family with teenagers, we really love the new coloring books. We also play games, build puzzles, and make simple crafts. Most of all summer is about adventure, and my kids will accompany me to Orlando for their first ever ALA convention!  Hope to see you there!


Author: Hannah Byrd Little

I’m a dedicated Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle, leveraging my background in higher education libraries to guide students through the crucial transition from school to college and beyond.

I am honored to have served as the AASL Chair for the Independent School Section in 2023 and am excited to begin my upcoming role as Director-At-Large for the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) later this year, following my previous experience as a Member Guide in the AASL Emerging Leaders program. These appointments reflect my commitment to advancing library education and professional development on a national scale.

With experience in state-level leadership through the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL), including serving as TASL President in 2012, I bring a wealth of knowledge to my role. My educational background includes certifications as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, a Bachelor of Science in Communications (Advertising & Public Relations), a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies (Education & Information Systems), and a Master’s in Library and Information Science.

Categories: Blog Topics, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models, Technology

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