OUR VIEW: Teens need to read

Published on Thursday, 23 August 2018 19:03
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A report from the American Psychological Association published in Time magazine and other news outlets, stated that “a third of U.S. teenagers haven’t read a book for pleasure in a year.” This information is based on a survey by the American Psychological Association.

The information was also published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, which, according to this survey, was probably not read by any teenagers as the study also indicated that teens aren’t reading magazines or newspapers or journals either.

So where are teens getting their information? Surprisingly, not from conventional TV programming. But, as most parents suspect, teens are bypassing traditional forms of media for digital media. This could mean anything and everything from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to YouTube videos, websites like Buzzfeed and TMZ and entertainment streaming services such as Netflix.

While textbooks, printed research materials, newspaper and magazines may be required as part of school work, we can conclude from the survey that if a teen can’t view it on a cell phone or computer screen, then they probably aren’t reading anything longer than few hundred characters on their leisure time.

That’s alarming.

Books of all kinds can open a reader’s eyes to a wealth of knowledge that could not possibly be conveyed in a Facebook post, a tweet or even a blog.

Just like a house needs a strong foundation, teens need a strong base of literature, history, culture, geography, current events and a solid understanding of differing philosophies and opinions to better cope with the world around them. Books hold all this and more.

As bookstores close and libraries see fewer and fewer patrons, we wonder if our teens are less engaged, less informed and ill prepared to assert themselves as individuals absent a hand-held device.

Parents should encourage their teens to pick up a book, magazine or newspaper, because even in 2018, reading is still fundamental.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Thursday, 23 August 2018 19:03. Updated: Thursday, 23 August 2018 19:06.