Unplugged Summer: Put the Screen Down and Get Outside

Unplugged Summer: Put the Screen Down and Get Outside

An elementary school principal told me a story once about an interaction she had with a little girl at her school. This little girl was in 2nd grade, around 7 years old. She was talking to the principal at recess one day and had a very simple question for her.

“When you were little, did you feel like your mommy and daddy were always on their phone and not paying attention to you too?”

This tugged at the principal’s heartstrings. This little girl wanted nothing more than for her parents to play with her, but from her perspective, they were more interested in their phones than in her.

We’ve all noticed that over the last 10-15 years, people spend more and more time in front of a screen. Even when we’re not in front of a screen, we have one in our pocket or on our car dashboard or the TV on in the background while we make dinner. Screens have become a major part of our everyday lives.

Children’s screen time is up to an average of 7.5 hours per day, and that’s not even counting the amount of time they spend in front of a screen for their schoolwork (Paulich et al, 2021). Are you curious how much time your kids are spending on screens? You can check using your CentraWiFi Hub App. The app lets you see who is using what device and for how long.

Managing screen time is a top priority for a vast majority of parents, but it feels like an uphill battle. We must manage our own screen time and the screen time of our children, too. Four in 10 parents have admitted that conversations about screen time have led to arguments with their kids.

Have you ever heard that staring at a television screen too close can cause you to go blind? Apparently, screen time can have other effects beyond that. Kids who have a higher average screen time are more likely to struggle with things like anxiety, depression, and even aggression issues. Not to mention, they do worse in school (Paulich et al, 2021).

Luckily though, those effects are not permanent, and you’d be surprised that your kids are likely on your side. More than 50% of teenagers think they spend too much time on their screens, and most of them even took steps to cut back their screen time (Pew Research Center, 2018). Even more teenagers say that they feel more comfortable and more at ease when they’re not only not looking at their phone but don’t even have access to it (Pew Research Center, 2024).

But what can you do? First, you can use your CentraWiFi Hub App to set time limits on your kids’ devices. If you have questions about how to do that, you can call us at 1-800-427-8449 to learn more.

What else can you do? Here’s a simple two-word answer: get outside! There’s evidence that going outside and engaging in recreational activities leads to more sustainable lives and positive effects on families, communities, and economies. It also has a positive effect on your mental health (Winter et al, 2020). In fact, children who are more physically active have better psychological and social health than those who don’t (Eime, 2016).

So leave your screens at your house and go do something fun with your family.

Here’s a list of suggestions:

  1. Call your city recreation department and ask about summer sports leagues
  2. Take your family to try playing pickleball, the sport anyone can play
  3. Go for a hike on local trails, apps like AllTrails have great suggestions
  4. Take a walk to your local library to check out a new read
  5. Go for a bike ride
  6. Visit a state park (there are 46 in Utah alone)
  7. Go swimming at the local pool
  8. Go for a picnic
  9. Go fishing

Encourage yourself and your family to get away from screens, go outside, and make some awesome memories this summer!


  1. Winter, P. L., Selin, S., Cerveny, L., & Bricker, K. (2019). Outdoor Recreation, nature-based tourism, and Sustainability. Sustainability, 12(1), 81. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010081
  2. Eime, R. M., Harvey, J. T., Charity, M. J., Casey, M. M., Westerbeek, H., & Payne, W. R. (2016b). Age profiles of Sport participants. BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13102-016-0031-3
  3. Shenton, Claire, Rees, Eleanor (2018). Children's engagement with the outdoors and sports activites, UK: 2014 to 2015. Office for National Statistics
  4. Paulich KN, Ross JM, Hewitt JK (2021) Screen time and early adolescent mental health, academic, and social outcomes in 9- and 10-year-old children: Utilizing the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study. PLoS ONE 16(9): e0256591. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0256591