Why do young people spend ten times more time on screens than reading ?

Why do young people spend ten times more time on screens than reading ?

From the age of 16, only one in two young people say they read for personal taste, excluding reading for school, studies or work. Pollyana Ventura/Getty Images

French people aged 7 to 19 read 2h13 per week on average in 2023 (-33 minutes compared to 2022), or 19 minutes per day compared to 3h11 on screens, according to a study published by the National Book Center this Tuesday April 9, 2024.

The dropout is greatest among boys aged 16 to 19, who spend more than five hours a day on screens, compared to only seven minutes reading (17 minutes for girls in the same age group age).

"19% of young people say they don't like or hate reading, or one in five young people. A share that increases with age: we rise to 31% between 16 and 19 years old", noted Etienne Mercier, director of the Health & Opinion of Ipsos, behind this survey carried out on a sample of 1,500 people. From the age of 16, only one in two young people say they read for personal taste, excluding reading for school, studies or work.

"A thousand sheets of bad news", commented Etienne Mercier during the presentation of the study. Almost all indicators of young people's relationship to reading have experienced "a strong erosion" since the first study in 2016. It also points to another worrying trend: "the cannibalization of reading time by other activities".

Digital books continue to progress

Thus, 34% of young people say they watch videos and 31% say they go on social networks at the same time as they read, and 20% of those who read for pleasure say they read less of 15 minutes without stopping.

Reading itself is increasingly filtered by screens: digital books, most often on mobile phones, continue to progress, gaining 11 points since 2022 and even 25 points since 2016. Thus 44% of readers say they have already read an e-book and 42% have listened to an audio book.

The book nevertheless remains the primary source of purchase for young people via the Culture Pass (access system to cultural activities set up by the government for 15-18 year olds ).

Among the most popular genres, "the preeminence of comics and manga is extremely strong", according to Etienne Mercier. More than three quarters of the books that boys between the ages of 13 and 15 read are manga.

The novel, although in slight decline, nevertheless resists, thanks in particular to the "romance" particularly popular among girls, up 9%.

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