Teens giving up books for Facebook, internet: Study

London, Sep 17: Increasing number of teenagers are spending their spare time on Facebook or surfing the internet rather than reading books, according to a major new survey in UK.

More than half (54 per cent) of six to eight year-olds are frequent readers and read books for fun five to seven days a week, but this dramatically declines over the teenage years, the researchers found.

Teens giving up books for Facebook, internet: Study.
The study found that less than a quarter of teens are frequent readers of books. Around a quarter (24 per cent) of 12 to 14-year-olds pick up a book this often, and this drops to just 17 per cent in 15 to 17-year-olds.

A child's enjoyment of reading also declines with age, with 80 per cent of those aged six to eight reporting that they love or like reading, compared with just 43 per cent of 15 to 17-year-olds.

As children turn their backs on books as they get older, they are spending more time playing games or logging on to the internet via tablets or smartphones instead, the study found.

Three quarters (76 per cent) of 15 to 17-year-olds visit social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter five to seven days a week and 80 per cent go on smartphones this often, the 'mirror.co.uk' reported.

The study commissioned by children's publishing company Scholastic in conjunction with internet-based market research firm YouGov also found that around a third (34 per cent) of six to eight year-olds watch videos on YouTube five to seven times a week, while half (48 per cent) play games or apps on an electronic device this often.

Researchers found that only one third of kids are reading books for fun five to seven days a week, even though 71 per cent of kids know they should be reading more for fun, and the same percentage of parents wish their child would do so.

Parents see the value in reading aloud to their children with nine in 10 saying they read books aloud at home before their child turns six primarily to encourage reading enjoyment and to foster development of language skills.

When parents of children of ages up to five are asked about reading aloud, 77 per cent said they do so five to seven days a week.

However, this declines to 37 per cent among children aged six to eight and only one in five parents read aloud five to seven days a week to their nine to 11 year-olds, even though 31 per cent of the children ages 6–11 whose parents no longer read aloud, said they did not want their parents to stop.


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