British children's on-screen reading overtakes books

May 16, 2013
A boy looks at a computer with Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling in London on June 23, 2011. For the first time British children are reading more on computers and other electronic devices than they are reading books, magazines, newspapers and comics, according to a study of nearly 35,000 youngsters.

For the first time, British children are reading more on computers and other electronic devices than they are reading books, magazines, newspapers and comics, according to a study of nearly 35,000 youngsters published Thursday.

Some 52 percent of children say they would rather read on electronic devices while only a third (32 percent) would rather read a hard copy, the National Literacy Trust said.

It added that the trend could be "detrimental" to children's reading and urged a "healthier reading balance" between books and .

Nearly all children have access to a computer at home and four out of 10 now own a tablet or a , said the trust, an independent charity promoting literacy.

The number of children reading e-books has doubled in the last two years, from six to 12 percent, it added.

The research among 34,910 young people aged eight to 16 also found that girls are significantly more likely than boys to read in print—68 percent versus 54 percent.

A young girl falls asleep while she waits for the launch of the new Harry Potter book at a London bookshop on July 7, 2000. Children now prefer to read on screen, with over half (52 percent) stating they would rather read on electronic devices while only a third (32 percent) would rather read in print, the National Literacy Trust says.

Girls are also more likely to read on a range of on-screen devices including mobile phones (67 percent of girls versus 60 percent of boys), e-readers (84 percent versus 69), and tablets (70 percent versus 67).

However, those who read daily only on-screen are barely half as likely to be above-average readers than those who read daily in print or in print and on-screen (15.5 percent versus 26), the research said.

Jonathan Douglas, the trust's director, said: "While we welcome the positive impact which technology has on bringing further reading opportunities to young people, it's crucial that reading in print is not cast aside.

"We are concerned by our finding that children who only read on-screen are significantly less likely to enjoy reading and less likely to be strong readers.

"Good and reading for pleasure are closely linked to children's success at school and beyond. We need to encourage children to become avid readers, whatever format they choose."

Explore further: Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

Dec 19, 2014

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's ...

Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

Dec 18, 2014

A Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has made a surprising discovery: older, more mature motorists—who typically are better drivers in ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.