Kids These Days … Love Print

Kids these days.  It turns out, in spite of increased access to digital devices, our youngest readers still prefer reading print books.

“A study by researchers in Australia found that kids who had access to e-readers like Kindles and iPads tended not to use the electronic devices for reading,” writes Teresa Welsh in the Sacramento Bee. “Even children who reported being daily readers didn’t use electronics as books.”

A surprising fact turned up in the study, too. It turns out that the more electronic devices a child has access to, the less they read in general. And less reading is definitely not a trend that parents or educators should encourage.

“Kids now have greater access to electronic devices for reading not only at home but at school, where classrooms are increasingly using technology for learning,” Welsh continues. “But according to the researchers, this actually provides children with more avenues of distraction because they can switch away from a book to a game or website. They said this can be one reason kids prefer paper books.”

It’s certainly not the first study to note that younger readers prefer print; we’ve been reporting on this for a while now. It is the most convincing evidence yet that electronic devices could actually be detrimental to developing reading skills, serving to dumb us down.

Reading on digital devices has been shown to have negative effects on health, sleep and memory. Limiting them for your kids made good sense even before this latest news. Now, science proves what we’ve always known – print books may actually help kids fall in love with reading, and stay focused on the book at hand.

The good news is that print book sales are climbing, while e-books are down. The message seems to be getting out there. Sure, kids need exposure to new technology to stay current, but it’s vitally important not to neglect the power of a simple print book.