As Computer Use Increases, Kids' Reading Abilities Drop

Family Matters on 05.30.11


An increase in computer time has contributed to a drop in the reading abilities of 9 and 10 year olds in the United States, says new research from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden -- and downloading the latest reading app won't necessarily help.

The study, reported in Science Daily, looked at the reading skills of students in the United States, Italy, Hungary and Sweden since 1970, and found that in the countries where kids reported a jump in their leisure time computer use -- the U.S. and Sweden -- there were fewer high-achieving readers; in Italy and Hungary, where computer time didn't increase, more children than in 1970 fell into the high-achieving category.

"By comparing countries over time we can see a negative correlation between change in reading achievement and change in spare time computer habits which indicates that reading ability falls as leisure use of computers increases," says Monica Rosén, who led the study. But it's not that computers make your child less of a reader -- it's that the time they spend online takes away from time they used to spend reading books and developing their skills.

"It is important that we do not jump to the conclusion that the complete explanation for poorer reading is deficiencies in education. On the contrary, the way in which computers undermine reading shows very clearly that leisure time is at least as important when it comes to developing high-quality reading skills," says Rosén.


How do you get your kids to develop their reading skills?

Photo: somegeekintn/Creative Commons



Top Articles on Reading
In the iPad Age, Reading is More Important Than Ever
Summer's Almost Here -- How to Keep Your Kids Reading
What is the Best Homeschooling Style for Your Family?