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Technology Impact on US Teenagers’ Reading Habits Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2021

Abstract

Technology has changed the interests and priorities of teenagers across the world. Their reading habits are more inclined towards nontraditional formats necessitated by technology. Teenagers have become obsessed with technology as a preferred reading tool because it has increased their ability to access a wider pool of resources. According to research, the use of technology by teenagers has positive and negative effects on their reading habits. The rate of advancements in technology has created a generational panic among parents who fear that teenagers are consuming too much on technology, which might eventually lead them to lose essential writing, communication, and social skills. Today, the number of teenagers that engage in heavy reading is much lower compared to two or more decades ago. Stakeholders in the American educational sector should promote good use of technology among teenagers as a way of restoring their appetite for reading. This feat can be achieved by using e-books and other web resources in learning.

Introduction

Since the turn of the century, numerous changes in the type and amount of material teenagers are reading in the United States have been witnessed. The reading habits of teenagers in the contemporary world are more inclined towards nontraditional formats. Most of them prefer to use smartphones and laptops to access various reading materials. This phenomenon has been necessitated by the increased uptake of technology, especially among young adults. Technology has affected the type of content that teenagers are reading from both scholarly resources and social media (Healy, 2018). In the past, the only way teenagers would access information was through print books in libraries, magazines, and newspapers.

However, technology has changed the preferred formats for reading among young adults in the United States. Teenagers have become obsessed with technology as a preferred reading tool because it has increased their ability to access a wider pool of resources through e-books and online journals. However, the high preference for technology by young adults raises a number of concerns with regard to their comprehension levels, leisures associated with technology, as well as the impact on reading habits (Strauss, 2015). Although the reading appetite among teenagers in the United States has slightly declined over the last several years, their preference for nontraditional formats supported by technology should not be overlooked. Relevant authorities in the United States should reorient their education system in a bid to exploit the teenager’s obsession with technology by encouraging the use of e-books and other web resources to enhance their reading habits.

Discussion

Research has established that the use of technology by teenagers has positive and negative effects on their reading habits. Social networking by teenagers in the United States is negatively associated with challenges such as poor social skills, a trivial culture, as well as a lack of interest in reading educational literature. The thrill associated with technology is highly addictive and dangerous to the normal development of teenagers because it detaches them from the real world (Denby, 2016). Video games are a big contributor to the high cases of violence and addiction to pornography among teenagers in the United States. Through technology, they are able to access and read a lot of information that is distorting their mindsets about the value of education in their life. For example, social media has stories of various celebrities flaunting their wealth and giving stories of their successful lives despite not having a good education. Most of the teenagers that read such stories tend to develop an impression that one can succeed in anything without necessarily relying on educational excellence. However, it is important to note that a certain percentage of teenagers in the United States also benefit a lot from the use of technology (Healy, 2018).

Benefits of Technology

Social media and instant messaging have been proven to help teenagers develop new communication skills. In addition, essential life skills such as maintaining privacy and responsibility are essential skills that teenagers acquire from using social media. Although teenagers are prone to making silly mistakes necessitated by poor judgment when using technology, most of them know the value of having responsible behavior because they do not want to be ridiculed by their friends. Interestingly, the information that teenagers gather from social media has a direct impact on their writing skills. Studies have established that teenagers who spend a lot of time on social media or reading stories from various online platforms have more engaging, complex, and longer essays in schools compared to those that consume very little technology (Strauss, 2015). This phenomenon is necessitated by the exposure to different viewpoints about certain topics, as well as increased access to more information that makes their essays to be longer and more fluid.

However, reports indicate that the increased use of technological tools such as instant messaging has distorted the vocabulary of some teenagers because of too much usage of short forms of words when communicating. The development of technology has created a generational panic among parents because they are afraid that when teenagers consume too much technology, they will eventually lose their formal writing skills (Denby, 2016). In contrast, studies have established that proper use of technology by teenagers helps to increase their literacy levels and become more creative. Through social networking sites such as Facebook, teenagers get an opportunity to put out their ideas and thoughts to both their friends and the world at large. This level of expression is good for the development of essential literacy skills among teenagers because it gives one more hunger to improve in order to have a better appeal to the audience (Thompson, 2013).

Declining Levels of Teenagers that Read Books

In contemporary America, the number of teenagers that engage in heavy reading is much lower compared to the situation two or more decades ago (Healy, 2018). According to literacy researchers, some of the technological elements that have contributed to a decline in the reading appetite among teenagers are social media, YouTube, as well as mobile games and applications. The digital entertainment provided by technology has distorted the reading habits of young adults because it has provided them with arguably more interesting and engaging alternatives to reading. Today, it is common to see almost every teenager engaged in his or her smartphone throughout the day without doing anything else. Although teenagers are still reading on a regular basis, the biggest concern is the high rate of decline in the number of those that are doing it (Dredge, 2013). Most households in the United States own at least a technological gadget that teenagers are using for gaming and social networking.

Over the years, teenagers in the United States have adopted a culture of reading books for pleasure, to the extent of having book clubs. However, this culture is quickly being eroded by the high uptake of technology. The book clubs have been replaced by groups in various social networking sites where teenagers discuss an array of topics. The challenge associated with this culture is the nature and amount of material the teenagers are reading. For example, social media is filled with a lot of distorted information that is evidently affecting the development of users. Teenagers are in great danger of radicalization through the information they access in social media because they tend to develop an understanding that things shared by others are cool and right to do (Denby, 2016). In addition, the amount of time spent on social networking sites affects the ability and willingness of teenagers to engage in the serious reading of educational material.

Technology has changed the way people communicate and interact with each other. Studies have established that most teenagers in the United States interact more on social media than in one on one situations. Experts argue that technology has killed conversations owing to the fact that the aspect of eye contact has been eliminated (Dredge, 2013). This effect has been transferred to the reading habits of teenagers who prefer to spend time chatting with friends on social media rather than visiting the library to read and have physical interactions with others. Technology has made the reading of serious material a chore among teenagers because smartphones have created the excitement of being everywhere at the same time highly addictive (Strauss, 2015). Teenagers tend to be anxious and angry whenever they stay for a few hours without being connected to their virtual friends. The digital culture among young adults in the United States is a reality that all the relevant stakeholders ought to appreciate and use as a platform to restore the appetite for serious reading.

Restoring the Reading Culture

The taste for reading among teenagers is highly dependent on the things that excite them. It is important to incorporate the latest technology in the education system in a bid to show teenagers the various ways in which they can use their smartphones beyond gaming and social networking. A large amount of time spent by teenagers entertaining themselves on social media and streaming videos on YouTube can be transformed into a reading culture by increasing the ease of access to e-books and online journals (Dredge, 2013). One of the notable trends among technology consumers across all ages is the fact that most of them struggle to stay away from touching their smartphones for more than ten minutes.

Instant messaging and social media keep people glued to their phone screens to the extent of making them less productive at work, recording lower grades in school, and shunning away from traditional practices. Although a reading culture is believed to have a transformative effect on people, technology is slowly having a greater impact on people’s lives through e-books. Unlike the traditional print books that were mainly accessible in libraries, technology has made it possible for people to access any kind of literature from wherever they are in the world (Moon, 2018). However, teenagers tend to be less interested in reading at this point in life because much of their energy is focused on attending sporting events, music concerts, and other exciting activities.

Conclusion

Over the last couple of decades, there have been numerous stories of teenagers who started various business ventures because of their obsession with technology. In the united states, the high number of teenagers that are spending most of their time on social media, as well as playing mobile games and engaging in other mobile applications, has created growing concern among parents. Interestingly, stakeholders in the education sector are decrying the negative effects that technology is having on the reading habits of teenagers across the country. Technology has made them have a lesser interest in reading educational literature to the effect that the information they are getting from social media is affecting them. However, studies have shown that effective use of technology helps teenagers to be creative, more responsible, as well as acquire essential social and communication skills. There is an urgent need for the relevant stakeholders of the education sector in America to promote good use of technology among teenagers as a way of restoring their appetite for reading by using e-books and other web resources in learning.

References

Denby, D. (2016). The New Yorker. Web.

Dredge, S. (2013). The Guardian. Web.

Healy, M. (2018). The Los Angels Times. Web.

Moon, J. (2018). The New York Times. Web.

Strauss, V. (2015). Why kids lose interest in reading as they get older. The Washington Post. Web.

Thompson, C. (2013). The Guardian. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Technology Impact on US Teenagers' Reading Habits." July 1, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/technology-impact-on-us-teenagers-reading-habits/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Technology Impact on US Teenagers' Reading Habits'. 1 July.

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