Do you think reading on a Kindle counts as screen time?

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Tech Talk Tuesday #41
How do you read? A physical book, Kindle, iPhone, etc?

I sometimes get questions from kids and parents about whether reading on a Kindle or another device counts as screen time. I am not concerned about reading on a device, what worries me is when you read on a device that has wifi and apps, it makes it hard to concentrate and stay on task.

This struck home when I learned that my daughter Tessa had downloaded a Kindle book via an app onto her iPhone. Then, a week or so later Tessa told me she deleted the app because she was going on her phone too much when she was trying to read. Now, she just uses our Kindle, which does not have a way to use the internet beyond buying books — truly, an old-fashioned Kindle.  Of course, Tessa also reads paper books, as well.  But believe me, I wish she read more. I see her doing Snapchat and Instagram, and I get waves of wishing more of that time were for reading. 

According to a survey from Common Sense Media reading by kids and teens has been decreasing significantly over time. In 1984, when I was a high school senior, about 10% of seniors reported they rarely, or never read, but now that percentage has gone up to 30%. This statistic is compounded by the fact that we know that reading goes down significantly from childhood to teen years. A 2013 Scholastic study showed that 15-17 years old read half as much as they did when they were 6-8 years old. 

I do look for ways to encourage Tessa to read more. For example, the editor of Your Teen Magazine recently asked if both Tessa and I wanted to read the same book and post our reviews on their website.  I am jazzed that Tessa agreed. You can do this too at http://yourteenmag.com/stuff-we-love/books. We are reading 1984—but how long will it take us to finish? Stay tuned…

This week for Tech Talk Tuesday let’s talk about reading.

How do you read? A physical book, Kindle, iPhone, etc?

  • If you do all of the above, how do you choose to use one or the other?
  • Do you turn off your wifi when you read on a connected device?
  • Do you have other devices next to you when you are reading?
  • How do you discover things you like to read?
  • Do you ever go to the library?