I always encourage parents to squeeze out time for their children to read something they enjoy. Reading for pleasure will not only make them better readers, but also propel them into adulthood as lovers of stories.
A new report by Common Sense Media shows what a difficult goal that is in our always-on world. Their scholarly study (MEDIA USE BY TWEENS AND TEENS) surveyed 2600 tweens (8-12 years) and teens (13-18). The full research report can be seen on their web site after sharing your email address.
The small slice I focused on was a comparison in enjoyment of four types of media use: Video games, Social media, Music, and Reading. The latter was defined as time spent reading “for your own enjoyment” and not for homework or a school assignment. The results are eye opening though for many of us not surprising:
Enjoy this activity a lot (tweens) Enjoy this activity a lot (teens)
Video Games (M=71%; F=34%) (M=62%; F= 20%)
Social Media (M=7%; F=18%) (M=29%; F= 44%)
Music (M=45%; F=64%) (M=66%; F= 80%)
Reading (M=33%; F=50%) (M=19%; F= 41%)
There is a significant drop in the reading category from tweens to teens, whereas the opposite happens with Social Media and Music. The drop in the boy’s reading from 1 out of 3 enjoying reading a lot to less than 1 out of 5 is especially troublesome.
The answer to why this happens is apparent from these two short videos from Common Sense Media.
Parents, teachers, and writers are up against a force that is not going to go away.
What do you think?