In such a fast-paced and modern society, more people are putting down books for smartphones and tablets. This change is most visible among children because iPhones and applications have replaced picture books and Harry Potter novels. Children and teenagers are bombarded by a surplus of distractions including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Students today spend less time poring over books at libraries or bookstores and more time browsing the web at home. According to TIME, in 1984, only 8% of 13-year-olds said that they “never” read for pleasure – a percentage that tripled to 22% by 2014.
Yet children and teenagers should take time to indulge in books because reading can provide many benefits, including stress reduction, mental stimulation, and improved concentration. For high school students who find schoolwork fatiguing, reading for even a short amount of time on a regular basis can have great benefits.
Amy Wang is a junior at Whitney High School and the founder of Beyond the Books, a book club. She told JSR, “I don’t think that teenagers enjoy reading less than teens in the past. It’s just harder when there are other priorities and the competition for college is only getting tougher, so students take up time-consuming extracurriculars.”
“I decided to create a club for book lovers to come read together since starting things together encourages people to finish tasks. I also wanted people to remember that books outside of textbooks and prep books do exist,” Wang expressed. “Once people start reading again, I’m sure they’ll continue.”
Choosing to read a book for pleasure is difficult because students are often forced to prioritize other activities. High school students feel obligated to spend free time to catch up on homework and sleep or to study prep books instead. In an increasingly competitive environment, high school students are occupied with not only maintaining good grades but also balancing multiple extracurricular activities. By the moment these students have any leisure time, they are usually too tired to select and focus on a book.
Yet people should prioritize reading, and they can embrace reading with their electronics. Readers today have the privilege of having a variety of electronic reading tools, such as Kindles, iPads, Nooks, and more. With such devices, people can access books instantly and hold numerous books in one place. Furthermore, technology has allowed people to find older, classic books for free online.
Samir Kamnani, a Whitney High School senior, has used electronic devices such as his phone to read school-assigned books.
He told JSR, “I see the benefits of having electronic books. They provide for much easier access, since you can simply take out your phone and start reading, no matter where you are.”
People can divert their attention from social media and take the time to improve their lives by reading, without abandoning technology. More children and teens should adopt reading as a hobby and let themselves be taken away into the world of books.