Screen Time versus 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
- Teaching Kids to Self-Regulate Screen Time: http://kansascity.citymomsblog.com/teaching-kids-to-self-regulate-screen-time/
- Kids must learn to control their own screen time: http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-x-0107-screen-time-keilman-column-20150107-story.html
- How to Negotiate Screen Time with Kids: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kristen-howerton/screen-time-kids_b_2119827.html
- Here’s What Happens to Your Eyes When You Look at Multiple Screens: http://time.com/4171966/digital-device-eye-strain-screens/
For Help with Boredom
- Helping Children out of Boredom: http://www.theparentingplace.com/parenting/behaviour/helping-children-out-of-boredom/
- Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun by Joshua Glenn, Elizabeth Foy Larsen, Tony Leone. Unbored is the guide and activity book every modern kid needs.
- The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden, Hal Iggulden
- The Daring Book for Girls by Andrea J. Buchanan, Miriam Peskowitz
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
Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.