Reading is plummeting among teenagers

In Montreuil (Seine-Saint-Denis), in 2012.

This is the most worrying phenomenon of the study by the National Book Center (CNL) commissioned from Ipsos on “Young French people and reading”, the conclusions of which were made public on Wednesday March 23: the dropout from reading in adolescence is still very present and real, especially among boys. This abandonment of the book takes place in favor of the time spent in front of the screens.

At the end of a survey conducted by Ipsos among 1,500 young people aged 7 to 25 representative of the French population in mainland France, the authors affirm that “leisure” reading (for pleasure, neither for studies nor for work ) declines sharply after entering college, after age 12, “with an even greater decline among boys than among girls: 68% of boys read for leisure at 13-15 years old, compared to 81% of girls at the same age”.

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Above all, the time devoted to this famous “leisure” reading weighs very little compared to that spent on the screen. “On average, leisure readers read 3h14 per week (i.e. almost twenty-eight minutes per day)”, whereas “all 7-25 year olds (readers or not) spend 3h50 a day in front of a screen (and even 5h33 among 20-25 year olds), including 2h50 a day on the Internet”.

“Many young people are still reading”

The study will contradict those who thought that the confinements had made it possible to immerse themselves in the joys of reading: “While some young people say they have read more during the confinements, this context has benefited the screens more. » Indeed, 38% of 7-25 year olds read more during confinement, but they mostly watched series (55%), used their smartphone (52%), played video games (44%); these increases being greater among the 20-25 year olds than among the youngest.

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Another radical metamorphosis in reading, and more particularly among boys, again: “47% of young people (and even 59% of high school students) often do other things while they read: they send messages, go on social networks, watch videos, play video games or talk on the phone. » Difficult, under these conditions, to stay focused on a text. This appetite for screens is nevertheless reflected in the fact that 40% of 7-25 year olds have already read a digital book and 58% have already listened to an audio book or a podcast.

7-19 year olds increasingly and massively prefer comics, manga and comics

Nevertheless, the authors of the study do not paint a black picture of the situation. They reassure parents, saying that “many young people are still reading” and even underline a slight improvement among 7-19 year olds, including “83% say they read for their leisure, compared to 78% in 2016 (the study then only focused on this age group), an increase of 5 points”. While feeling sorry that 16% of 7-25 year olds “have no particular appetite for reading”.

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