E-Readers and Tablets Detrimental to Children’s Reading Says Study


A new study was just released earlier today that shows e-readers and tablets are detrimental to children’s reading habits. Out of all the children that have e-readers and tablets, fewer than half actually use the devices to read. What’s even more shocking is that the children who did use the electronic gadgets to read only engaged in reading for five minutes per day-far below the minimum recommendations for optimal brain development.

The research supports earlier studies that show electronic gadgets are inferior for reading as it pertains to comprehension and learning. Children also read slower when staring at screens than they do when reading a paper book, and they retain much less information from screens than they do from paper.

When children read with printed books on paper, they read an average of a half an hour at a time. Compared with five minutes on an E-reader, 30 minutes is far superior, and that amount of time creates an environment for enhanced learning. Children remember the information better shortly after reading, and they are also able to retain the information they learned longer.

The new study released today suggests that e-readers and tablets are highly detrimental to children’s reading habits, but parents are not likely to pay much attention. Studies have shown that parents let their children use screens for up to seven hours a day. This is far over the maximum two hours per day total screen time recommended for children ages 2 and over. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero hours of screen time for children under age 2.

As parents continue to ignore experts’ advice, incidences of ADD and autism have continued to increase. There have been numerous studies that have shown overuse of screens causes brain damage, and experts worry that this brain damage could be severe in children under age two who have access to screens.

The lesson from this new study released today and previous studies is that screen time should be drastically reduced for all children. Screen time includes the television, computer, tablet, e-reader and smart phone. Combined, usage of these electronic gadgets should not exceed the recommendations of the medical experts.

As more and more studies get released that show the negative effects of gadgets, screen usage is on the rise in all age groups. Besides being detrimental to children’s reading habits, screens can cause addiction, depression, lack of self-esteem, lower productivity, anxiety, withdrawal symptoms and a variety of other negative effects.

At the same time parents report their children are having temper tantrums complete with screaming and crying when their devices are taken away, nothing is being done to stem the tide of gadget use in children.

In fact, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has remained steadfast in his commitment to increase the use of gadgets in schools and he refuses to acknowledge the recommendations of medical experts as it pertains to limiting screen use in children. He seems to be vastly ignorant of the effects of tablets and other forms of electronic learning on children’s brain development. “I’ve been very public that we need to move from print to digital as fast as we can,” he said in 2012. Since then, he has continued to turn a blind eye to the realities of screen usage, and he has a hand in the current vast decline of education in the U.S. because of ever-increasing technology in the classroom.

Studies can keep getting released, but until society wakes up and realizes that many of the children being raised today are suffering brain damage from gadget use, education in the U.S. will continue the downward spiral it’s been on for the last ten years. E-readers and tablets are detrimental to children’s reading and that is proven by multiple studies. When will parents and leaders in education take heed?

By: Rebecca Savastio

Daily Times

American Academy of Pediatrics

San Francisco Gate

Huffington Post

Sydney Morning Herald

Scientific American

Plos One

3 Responses to "E-Readers and Tablets Detrimental to Children’s Reading Says Study"

  1. Stephanie Shorter   January 27, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    Could you post links to some of the studies you’re referencing? I know some of the terms in the article are supposed to link elsewhere, but I just get pop-up ads when I mouse hover over them. Maybe if you post the inks in this section, they’ll work.

  2. jblenki   January 24, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I wonder if kids don’t read so much on tablets because there is a game calling their name – it’s much easier to get distracted on digital devices. I find the I definitely retain more if I read a paper book, could it just be that’s what I’m used to? On the other hand, sometimes I read novels for hours on my screen without fatigue or any of the problems mentioned. I really think it’s how people use digital media that causes most of the problems. But I agree that education reform needs to slow down We should use technology when it will enhance the lesson and give kids necessary 21st century skills, but we should not introduce screen-time just for its own sake. I really hate the fact that the future of all standardized testing is to be digitalized. How will that affect performance?

  3. Kristine   January 24, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    I don’t really understand HOW this it true, but my instinct says it is so. Thank you!


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