Report Shows Teens Don’t Read Books Anymore

As parents continue to allow their children to spend more and more time focused on screens, a new report has revealed that teens aren’t reading books anymore.

A recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report shows that nearly one in three 13-year-old students reported either “never” or “hardly ever” reading during their downtime. Only 14% of teen respondents reported reading “almost every day,” which is a sharp decline from past studies — where 17% reported reading “almost every day” in 2020 and 27% said the same in 2012.

Speaking with The Hill about the findings, Scholastic School Reading Events executive vice president Sasha Quinton described the news as a “crisis” for American education.

“If we focus on that book joy and just connecting kids to funny stories and explosive stories and things that sparked their interest, then they are learning to read and they are on the path to being lifelong readers,” she said.

While children are losing interest in books, they have been spending more time staring at screens and using social media. As The Federalist notes, social media platforms have been “reaching the next generation at younger and younger ages.”

In 2022, the New York Times reported about a Common Sense Media survey that revealed children and teens are using screens and social media “more than ever.”

“On average, daily screen use went up among tweens (ages 8 to 12) to five hours and 33 minutes from four hours and 44 minutes, and to eight hours and 39 minutes from seven hours and 22 minutes for teens (ages 13 to 18),” the outlet wrote.

Another study published last year revealed that those aged 11-18 spent an average of over 10 hours a day online — where they were either shopping, gaming, texting, video chatting or scrolling through social media.

Beyond spending too much time online, many studies have shown that teens are actually addicted to social media. The Pew Research Center previously reported that more than half of teens between the ages of 13 to 17 stated it would be “hard” to give up social media — despite more teens in the survey admitting that their online activity had a net-negative impact on people their age. The think tank also found YouTube and TikTok — a Chinese-owned social media app that has been proven to be dangerous for children — to be the most popular apps for teens in that age group.

The rise in teenage use of social media has also coincided with an increase in teen depression and attention deficit disorders.

Several Republican-led states have begun pushing to ban social media for minors for these reasons and more. A bill proposed by Texas Republican state Rep. Jared Patterson would require individuals who sign on to a social media platform to be at least 18 years old.

“Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, social media access to minors has led to remarkable rises in self-harm, suicide, and mental health issues,” Patterson explained.