On Wednesday the UK’s leading literacy non-profit released the results of a survey of UK parents. Some 1,500 parents were polled last summer about what they thought their kids’ reading preferences were, and the results were released this week.
At 72 pages long, it’s rather dense and I am inf act still reading it myself. I don’t think it can be summarized in a single blog post (The Bookseller tried, and flubbed the headline). So here are a few of the highlights:
- Most parents have concerns over children using interactive e-books, with only 8% having no concerns. Concerns include that interactive ebooks will:
- increase children’s screen time (45%),
- mean they lose interest in print books (35%), expose them to inappropriate content (31%) or too much advertising (27%),
- affect a child’s attention span (26%),
- reduce parents’ ability to monitor what children look at (22%) or result in children purchasing add-ons without parents’ knowledge (21%),
- inhibit learning (14%),
- harm a child’s brain (10%).
- Parents want advice about interactive e-books. Almost half of parents would like more advice regarding interactive e-books with 62% of these parents wanting advice concerning how they can be harnessed to support their child’s learning and 58% wanting advice about how they can be used to entertain their child.
- Print books are the preferred reading format for children. There is a strong preference for print books for reading for pleasure (76%) and educational reading (69%) over interactive e-books (30% reading for pleasure and 34% educational reading) or simple e-books (15% reading for pleasure and 15% educational reading).
- Even highly digitised households use print books for children’s reading. Although 92% of parents and 73% of children were said to be confident users of technology, only 19% of children use an e-reader daily and 57% never use one despite having one in the home.
- Half of parents said their children read alone for pleasure. 51% of parents report that their child reads print books alone every day or almost every day, with only 7% reading interactive e-books and 5% reading simple ebooks alone every day or almost every day.
When you read this survey, or the news coverage, it’s worth remembering that this was a survey of some 1,511 parents in the UK, who were asked a total of 38 questions about their kids.
In other words, any factoid pulled from this survey report should be assumed to read “Parents said …”, even when it’s not explicitly stated.
That distinction is important because, as Carrie Morgan points out on, there’s a huge difference between what parents think their kids like and what the kids actually like. This report tracks the former, but will likely be misreported as the latter.
image by davidmulder61