Study: Only two percent of teens read newspaper, one-third have not read book for pleasure in last year

Study: Only two percent of teens read newspaper, one-third have not read book for pleasure in last year
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A study released Monday shows just two percent of American teens read a newspaper on a regular basis.

The "nationally-based lifestyle survey studying teens" by researchers at San Diego State University also found that one-third of the teenagers polled had not read a book for pleasure in the last year. That number includes reading on an electronic device.

The daily newspaper results are in stark contrast with a similar study done in the early 1990s, according to That study found that one-third of same-aged teens in 1990s read a newspaper on a regular basis.


Researchers compiled the study by examining data going back more than four decades. Overall, more than one million teens provided information for the study.

"The meteoric rise of internet-based activities cannot be understated: between social media, texting, gaming, and surfing the web, the average high school senior spent six hours a day online in 2016 — double the time from a decade earlier. Eighth graders (4 hours a day) and tenth graders (5 hours a day) didn’t lag far behind," StudyFinds's report on the research said.

When going back further to the late 1970s, researchers found that 60 percent of 12th graders read a book or magazine "almost daily."

The study also found that teen viewership of TV is falling.

In the 1990s survey, 22 percent of eighth graders reported watching five or more hours of TV a day. That number fell to just 13 percent in 2016.

"The findings are odd since reading is now so simple," said Jean Twenge, the study’s lead author. "No more schlepping to the library or the bookstore, just click a link and boom, you've got a book to read."

“It’s so convenient to read books and magazines on electronic devices like tablets,” Twenge also noted in an American Psychological Association news release. “There’s no more going to the mailbox or the bookstore — you just download the magazine issue or book and start reading. Yet reading has still declined precipitously.”

“Think about how difficult it must be to read even five pages of an 800-page college textbook when you’ve been used to spending most of your time switching between one digital activity and another in a matter of seconds,” she added. “It really highlights the challenges students and faculty both face in the current era.”

“Blockbuster Video and VCRs didn’t kill going to the movies, but streaming video apparently did,” Twenge concluded.