Is electronic media causing US teens reading levels to drop?  Recent research has shown that there is a clear and dramatic decline in the amount teens and pre-adolescents are reading. These young people are also reading less for pleasure as a choice.

The analysis is outlined in a study released on Sunday by the San Francisco-based Common Sense Media, which looked solely on reading trends and achievement overtime.

Is Electronic Media Causing US Teens Reading Levels To Drop?

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The most recent data reported that 45 percent of 17-year-olds only read for pleasure one or two times a year. In 2012, 19 percent of students reported reading every day, which is a quick drop compared to the 31 percent who were reading daily in 1984. By 1980, there were one million personal computers in the world. Today, the United States alone has over 310 million personal computer owners, according to the Computer Industry Almanac Inc. census.

The digital revolution has inundated children and teens with cellphones, tablets, laptops, and other platforms to distract themselves from the bookshelf. This has led researchers to questions if there is a link between the increase in technology and decrease in reading levels.  

James Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, has four kids and says he has seen the trend most with his 16-year-old. “And I start to see it in our 10-year-old, as well, because he is less and less reading, and more and more attracted to some of the digital media platforms that he has access to, and that he did not have access to when he was, say, 6 or 7 years old,” he said.

The study did not conclude that digital platforms are the culprit, but the researchers analyzing the data did think it was an obvious connection. They also pointed out that the impact of electronic reading, such as e-books and reading on social media, such as Twitter, has not been evaluated yet.

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Is Electronic Media Causing US Teens' Drop in Reading Levels?

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