It may come as no surprise, but teenagers have begun to read less compared to past generations. There are many factors to consider, however, the most important would be how the progression of technology has taken control of our daily lives.
According to an article, Teens Today Spend More Time on Digital Media, Less Time Reading, only 20% of teenagers read books for their own pleasure compared to a staggering 80% who spent most of their free time on social media. In the same article it was also mentioned that in the 1970s and 1990s, students reported reading more than what has been studied recently.
When did technology become so central to our daily lives? The answer appears to be around 2006 to present.
Ever since 2006, the amount of time spent online has drastically gone up. In an article entitled, Why it matters that teens are reading less, several statistics showed how many hours are being spent engaging with technology by an average teenager. Online gaming has taken up about an hour and a half each day. A study presented in the article showed that 1 out of 10 eighth graders spent 40 hours a week gaming.
Why is this so problematic? Well, teenagers aren’t engaging in reading that requires critical thinking and reflection. These are components that help create more successful students as well as informed citizens. As stated in the article, Why it matters that teens are reading less, “If print starts to die, a lot will go with it.”
With that said, teenagers are reading. However, they are reading things on social media like captions. Things that are short and don’t have a lot of sustenance. One of the reasons may be that teenagers don’t want to read for fun. There’s a difference between reading at your own will and having to read for classwork. When asked about teenagers and reading, Mia Spruill, a UNCG student responded, “I think teenagers are reading less than past generations due to the amount of demanded reading they have to do throughout their education from a young age all the way through college.” Students are also being forced to read for pleasure for school. Some institutions require students to complete a list of books throughout the year. How will students learn to love to read when it feels like a chore?
In the past decade teenagers have read less due to technology consumption and what is required for students in school. Unfortunately, the amount of media consumption won’t disappear. It’s how this generation communicates.