Many of us grew up holding paper books, but today’s younger generation spends more and more time on screen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, Americans spend about 15 minutes a day reading out of personal interest, with 15-24-year-olds having only six minutes, even though they spend 5 hours and 30 minutes of leisure time a day.
From 1992 to 2017, the proportion of adults reading any book (except school books) fell from 60.9 percent to 52.7 percent in the previous year, according to the American Arts Foundation.
Research in the Journal of Popular Media Culture Psychology shows that in the late 1970s, six out of ten young people reported reading a book or magazine a day;
Reading scores also reflect this trend. In the 2018 ACT exam, only 46% of test takers scored on reading that required college admissions, down 6 percentage points from 2011. The SAT spoken-word score dropped by 36 percentage points from 1972 to 2016.
Children from low-income families spend more time on the screen than children from high-income families, and they score worse reading. It may not be long before pre-PC memory will disappear, and people will no longer use the reading memories of past paper books to evaluate screen time in the digital age.