Study: kids reading less

Filed under: Tweens, Teens, In The News, Media, Day Care & Education, That's Entertainment

Today, my seven year old and I spent the afternoon in the bookstore. While I was heartened to see many little kids enjoying books, I couldn't help but notice that there weren't many older kids browsing the aisles. After reading about this study, I think I know where those kids were: at home in front of some sort of digital entertainment.

The Tween & Teen Lifestyle Report is a bi-yearly look at what kids ages 8 to 17 are doing with their free time. No surprise, the trend away from reading and toward surfing the Internet, watching television and playing video games continues. The study, conducted by Youth Trends, a research and marketing firm, shows that only 65% of teens (ages 14 to 17) read a magazine for fun last month compared to 65% a year ago. Magazine reading among tweens (ages 8 to 13) showed a similar decline with 48% reporting reading a magazine in the last month compared to 52% percent a year ago.

Skipping magazine reading might not seem like such a bad thing (aren't they all beauty tips and celebrities anyway?), but the report shows that kids are using that time to watch more television and play around online. The report doesn't reveal just what the kids are watching on the tube, but you can be pretty sure it isn't educational. Online, they are spending the majority of their time sending and receiving emails, instant messaging and playing games.

I love to read and rarely does a day go by that I don't indulge that love. It's a habit I developed as a child (way before the Internet and cable television) and one that I still enjoy immensely. My seven year old, if left to her own devices, would rather watch an episode of Hannah Montana for the fourth time than read a book. But when I turn the television off and put a book in her hand, she quickly remembers that she loves to read. I give her books not just to get her away from the screen, but because I hope to make reading a habit that she will enjoy for the rest of her life, too.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.