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Study Shows Teens Ditching Books in Favour of Social Media

A new study has been published that shows an alarming trend among teens who are neglecting books and literature, instead preferring to spend their time glancing through their feeds on sites such as Twitter and Facebook.

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As trends go I suppose its not all that distressing, but countless studies have linked reading to more developed thinking and brain development, so the study may have actually highlighted a legitimate concern. It certainly has for me, as I spend a large amount of my free time with a book in hand and, no word of a lie, it has shaped not only my childhood but who I am to this day.

Now, less than a quarter of teens are frequent readers, with frequent in this study defined as "reading books 5 to 7 days a week", ITV reports. The exact statistic rests at 24% for the 12-14 year old range, which drops further as they enter their late teens to only 17% among 15-17 year olds. When compared to children between the ages of 6-8, of whom more than half are frequent readers, the scale of the drop-off becomes apparent.

Its not just the frequency, but also the enjoyment of reading, that drops off as age increases. While 80% of 6-8 year old children professed to like or love reading for fun, that figure drops to only 43% for 15-17 year olds.

So what are they filling all that extra time with? The study shows that while books lay abandoned in the rooms of teenagers, 76% of 15-17 year old teens are frequent users of social media (again defined as 5 to 7 days a week).

I do think, however, that this cannot be fully blamed on social media. Children are unparalleled in their imagination and creativity, and it could simply be that while kids find it easy to lose themselves in a world presented as written word, as we get older we may require more visual or physical stimulus in order to appreciate the art or story properly.

The findings come from The Kids & Family Reading Report. The report, commissioned by children's publisher Scholastic, included responses from 1755 parents and children.


Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @SamAtSMF

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Study Shows Teens Ditching Books in Favour of Social Media Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Tuesday, September 15, 2015 Rating: 5

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