Toxic children

Polly Curtis reports on new research from ChildWise into children’s digital habits. The report surveys 1,800 children at 92 schools in England - and there is plenty of interesting statics coming from the annual figures released… …84% said they read for pleasure in 2006, 80% in 2007 and 74% this year.

Rosemary Duff, ChildWise’s research director:

It’s so clear that a lot of children are fluent communicators but not in a conventional way. They aren’t readers, they are reliant on spellchecks. They are a generation abandoning print and paper, and the whole integration of technology and the way they glide from one to the other is seamless. They will be surfing the net, talking to a friend and downloading a track simultaneously. 38% of nine- to 14-year-old girls take a games console to bed at night. That is the age group of girls who used to be the most avid readers. Now they have a media hub in their rooms.

There’s nothing new in the statistics but Duff’s response speaks volumes - I’m not convinced that a generation reliant on spellchecking aren’t going to want to read books. Brace yerselves for the sweeping, generalised statements about how publishing could adapt:

The next step for writers should be crossing media - building an online presence and developing projects for books and reading on screen alongside interactive elements - a twitter account for a character, a simple java game for mobiles, a DS sampler with video/sound - the ideas are endless. Next year it’d be great if Duff’s comments read: “surfing the net, talking to a friend, downloading a track and reading a character feed simultaneously”.

Written by david. in: Publising, childrens books | Tags: , ,

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