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Opinion: We aren’t reading like we used to
October 22, 2022
In society, reading is becoming more and more of a lost pastime.
As a whole, we are no longer reading as much as we should. According to Pew Research, 23% of adults in the United States have not read any type of book in the past 12 months.
This highlights the idea that even adults who grew up during different times like when technology, such as cell phones were only starting out, do not read for pleasure anymore. Like Gen Z, older generations are just as affected by the lack of reading–is this due to the consequences of rapidly growing technology?
Technology has negatively affected our attention spans making it much more difficult to concentrate. So that when we pick up a book all we think about is when we can pick up our devices again.
Neuroscientist, Susan Greenfield, says that there is “proof of a link between shorter attention spans and technology” as surveys reveal that even children’s attention spans are becoming shorter due to the fact that they prefer activities on their screens rather than reading.
Although I enjoy reading and like to do it frequently, at times it can be challenging to stay concentrated on the text no matter how interesting the book might be. No matter how disciplined I am when it comes to my reading I’m just so used to technology that I feel the urge to pick up my phone and go on it instead.
Many teenagers only read when they are forced to complete their English class assignments, and never actually bother to open a book. According to the American Psychological Association, one-third of teenagers in the United States have not voluntarily wanted to read a book in the past year.
“I don’t enjoy reading for my class assignments or in my free time,” says senior Emily Rodriguez. “It is just something I’m not interested in.”
Teens have become highly accustomed to growing up with technology and access to the media. For many, reading does not bring the same satisfaction that scrolling through Instagram or Tik Tok does.
Senior Angeline Navarro says she would much rather “go on [her] phone” but does wish to read more but it “has to be something [she] is really interested in.”
Technology has definitely played a role in many teens and adults not wanting to read. Before technology, reading was a way of passing time and now that phones and computers exist, many do not see a reason to pick up a book when they have access to other activities.
Reading is extremely important and through it, we become better thinkers as we exercise our minds; it improves our literacy skills, increases our general knowledge of the world, and best of all it is a form of entertaining ourselves as we enter different worlds that are created by writers.
Reading is something that urgently needs to be common again amongst teens and children as they are our future. If society continues to let technology get in the way of that, it will become a lost practice that is so crucial to our ever-changing world.