This Year’s Chapter: Teens aren’t reading anymore

Mia Scott, Opinion Writer

The classics: “Harry Potter,” “The Hunger Games,” “Divergent” and countless other great teenage page-turners. These books have been read and reread by teens so much so that they are simply a title, only spoken about in random conversations. The current teenage generation have read those classics long ago and have since moved on with their lives. Teens don’t know or care about what to read and they don’t find it as interesting as their phones.

Simply put, teenagers want information in the most effortless way possible, and YouTube and vloggers have thrived on this desire.Instead of going to a library or buying a book, teens turn to the internet. Scrolling through Instagram, snapping that friend back or tweeting has taken up
large portions of time previously devoted to reading, going outside or spending quality time face to face with someone. Why would you go out into the real world if you could just look it up or instant message them from your couch?

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), less than 20 percent of US teens read a book, newspaper or magazine for pleasure, whereas 80 percent of teens use social media on a daily basis. When I ask the question, “Why don’t you read”, the answer that I most often get is that reading is boring. I must ask this question: is social media fun? If yes, then does it do any good? Evidence shows that it does anything but. Studies show that teenagers and young adults that use platforms such as Instagram or Snapchat have a higher rate, ranging from 13-66 percent, of reported depression and/or anxiety than those who spend less time on social media. Reading is known to increase vocabulary, keep you sharp as you age and improve your grammar. Studies even show that people who read tend to have higher GPAs and overall better general
knowledge. In turn, intelligence is one of the attractive traits that people are drawn to in friends and significant others.

Speaking from personal experience with social media, it doesn’t do anything but make me feel insecure or sad. People only show their best selves on social media. It makes you want that same kind of smile they have in their pictures, fake or not. You idolize people with perfect bodies or great humor and it passes the time without a single benefit. The reason I participate in social media is to keep in touch with people. It almost seems like a job I have to do instead of something I genuinely enjoy. Reading, on the other hand, either improves a day that has already been great, or helps me escape a reality by “witnessing” Katniss take down the Capitol, Hazel and Augustus falling in love, Harry beating Voldemort and so on. Additionally, reading makes you want to write; it stimulates the brain to imagine and you almost feel obligated to write those thoughts down. Not only do I gain the joys of imagination, but the rewards of participating. So why do teens spend so much time focused on social media, when no benefits are presented? Go outside, read that book, talk to that person. There is a whole world out there if you just look up from your screen.