London: Youngsters in the 12-17 age group are increasingly abandoning books and turning to social media such as Facebook and Twitter, a new study on children’s reading habits has revealed.
The study found that less than a quarter of teenagers are “frequent” readers of books, reports BT.com.
More than half (54 percent) of six to eight year-olds were frequent readers and read books for fun five to seven days a week, but this dramatically declines over the teenage years, the study found.
A child’s enjoyment of reading also declines with age, with 80 percent of those aged six to eight reporting that they love or like reading, compared with just 43 percent of 15-17-year-olds.
As children turn their backs on books as they get older, they are spending more time playing games or logging on to the internet via tablets or smartphones instead.
Three-quarters (76 percent) of 15 to 17-year-olds visit social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter five to seven days a week and 80 percent go on smartphones this often.
Though the survey showed that the allure of the screen in the digital age is more tempting for youngsters, a majority of them expressed preference for printed books over ebooks.
Nearly two-thirds of children (65 percent) — up from 2012 (60 percent) — agreed that they would always want to read books in print even through there were e-books available.
The survey was commissioned by Britain-based children’s publishing company Scholastic in conjunction with YouGov. It questioned 1,755 parents and children about reading habits.