A study conducted by a British literacy charity has come to some ominous conclusions about the influence of technology on children’s reading habits. “Schoolchildren are significantly more likely to be exposed to mobile phones and computers in the home than novels, according to researchers. They also found that reading frequency declined sharply with age, with 14 to 16 year–olds being more than 10 times as likely to avoid books altogether as those in primary education.” New technologies are most harmful when they replace children’s reading time.
What’s the Big Idea?
Without early exposure to reading materials, children may suffer poor literacy skills later in life. Jonathan Douglas, director of the literacy charity, said: “We are worried that [children] will grow up to be the one in six adults who struggle with literacy to the extent that they read to the level expected of an 11 year–old or below.” In the study, text messages were listed as the most popular form of reading material for children of all ages. Last year alone, the reading habits of British children fell from 17th to 25th in the world.