Most people typically use reading as a source of gaining new knowledge, or as a source of entertainment. However, teenagers in this new millennium have very busy, activity filled, fast-paced lives. Obligations such as school, family, work, and friends take up most of their time. This lifestyle is reflected in the way teenagers choose to learn new things or entertain themselves. From a teens’ perspective why would they choose reading as a source for either when they have much quicker and easier ways available?
Reading a book to learn something new can take several hours-while watching a video on youtube or listening to a podcast can take minutes to learn the same information. The internet is an infinite universe of quick and easy information that to a teenager seems more accessible, understandable, and on their level. The same can be said of television. Why read about history when you can watch a show on tv that makes it more visually stimulating than a book ever could?
For centuries reading a good book was the best way for people to entertain themselves and have ‘adventures’ they could never experience in their limited lives. But today if a teenager wants entertainment they have almost limitless possibilities at their fingertips. They can hop in the car and drive anywhere they want. Movies, the internet, parties, shopping, video games, and music are just a handful of the choices teenagers have for fun. With all these choices at hand it make sense that a teenager would rather not sit at home quietly reading.
As far as popularity goes, teenagers feel a lot of pressure from their peers to appear as if they lead an exciting life-the kind of life where she or he is always happy, always looks good, and is always surrounded by people who ‘like’ them. This contributes to the trend that teenagers post every aspect of their life online in pictures-through Facebook, Myspace, blogs, etc. In order to keep this appearance of popularity and gain approval, teenagers must actually go out and do enough of those things they feel pressured to do so that the pictures can surface online as proof of their ‘coolness’. So it makes sense that a teenager would choose to spend their free time doing those things that elevate their status rather than stay home and read a book.
Teenagers ARE teenagers because of their inability to always think as rationally or logically as adults can. Thus having endless entertainment and being cool are more important to them than reading for the sake of reading. With all the new technology and entertainment these days, reading can’t even compete in a teenager’s eyes. Considering this, it’s easy to see why reading now seems outdated and has become unpopular with teenagers.