Social networks, lack of interest… Why do young people turn away from reading? – The Express

Social networks lack of interest… Why do young people turn

Are social networks an obstacle to reading? According to one study carried out by the National Book Center (CNL) and published this Tuesday, April 9, among young people, the trend is more toward “scrolling” than opening a book. “Dropping out during adolescence is strongly confirmed from the age of 16 for compulsory reading,” underlines the authors of the study, carried out among 1,500 French people aged 7 to 19 at the start of the year.

In fact, 36% of young people aged 16 to 19 do not read at all for school or work. This figure rises to 38% in the context of leisure. These findings are worrying and attest to a dropout in this category of the population. Between 7 and 12 years old, only 8% say they do not read for school, and 7% for leisure.

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Overall, excluding compulsory reading, young French people over the age of 16 spend on average one hour and twenty-five per week reading a book (down thirty-three minutes compared to 2022), or around twelve minutes per day. Furthermore, a gap is widening between the sexes: girls – still aged 16 to 19 – read seventeen minutes a day, compared to seven for boys.

More than five hours a day spent on screens

Problem: the reduction in reading time seems to be offset by the increase in the time young people spend on screens. Between 16 and 19 years old, French people spend on average five hours and ten hours a day on their phones or computers (excluding use of these screens for work). These even interfere during reading, since 69% of 16-19 year olds say they do another activity – such as sending a message, watching a video or playing video games – while reading.

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The more the years pass, the less young people seem to capture the interest in reading, both on a personal and professional level. Only 71% believe they understood their book well after reading it (compared to 88% of 7-12 year olds), and 52% said they enjoyed the work (compared to 74% of 7-12 year olds). And this, despite initiatives from the government and the CNL, such as the Culture Pass or Reading Nights. The latter was even, in 2022, elevated to the rank of a major national cause.

The book is thus seen as a constraint by many of these young people. 31% actually say that they don’t really like, or even hate, reading. The situation is different regarding stories that refer to a film or series, and for which the people questioned seem to have a greater appetite. 80% of 16-19 year olds turn to reading a book after seeing its adaptation on a video platform, i.e. 19 points more than in 2022.