November 22, 2013 2:20 pm
Updated: November 22, 2013 2:38 pm

Kids, parents still prefer traditional reading over ebooks: Study

It appears parents and children aren't eager to give up on the time-honoured tradition of flipping through paper books in favour of swiping around in digital content.

Adam Berry/Getty Images

TORONTO – Children’s storybooks are in no danger of becoming extinct, suggests a report on how kids and parents are embracing ebooks.

Based on the results of online surveys conducted for Booknet Canada, a non-profit industry organization that tracks sales and trends, it appears parents and children aren’t eager to give up on the time-honoured tradition of flipping through paper books in favour of swiping around in digital content.

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Of the more than 800 parents interviewed, about 41 per cent said they currently read ebooks. More than 200 teens between 14 and 17 were also polled (with their parents’ permission) and 27 per cent said they were ebook readers.

But few indicated they actually prefer digital books or could see themselves eschewing paperbacks for good.

Only one per cent of the parents polled said their kids aged 13 and under were at the point of reading more ebooks than print books.

“What we’ve found, and has been found in similar studies, is that while many parents are adopting new technologies, they are reluctant to have their children adopt these technologies at the same rate,” reads the report.

“It seems that even the most technologically inclined parents are unsure how to navigate the integration of new technologies into concepts of good parenting.”

READ MORE: Scribd, HarperCollins offer e-book subscriptions

Only about one in four parents said they read ebooks with their kids. And only four per cent of parents said they preferred that their children read ebooks, while 63 per cent favoured old-fashioned books.

Among teenagers, 29 per cent said they preferred reading ebooks, 37 per cent chose print and 34 per cent had no preference. The surveys suggest teens aren’t rushing to embrace ebooks.

About 41 per cent of them said they expected they’d still mainly be reading print books in a year’s time, while only about 10 per cent said they expected to be reading mostly digital content by then.

The researchers also asked parents how their kids were using mobile devices, which yielded some interesting stats about how toddlers are embracing technology.

The report suggests just over 60 per cent of kids aged three or four have access to an Apple or Google Android phone or tablet in their home. Among 11- to 13-year-old kids, about 80 per cent had a device in their home.

Among the parents of children eight and under, 15 per cent said their kids were using the Internet daily, almost half said a few times a week, and just over 20 per cent said they’re never online. The most common online activities among those kids were playing games and watching videos.

READ MORE: Parents more likely to buy tablets: study

Almost half of those parents said they sometimes hand a phone or tablet to their kids to use in the car, or to occupy them when other tasks need to be done. About one in three parents said apps are handy for when their kids need a distraction.

Still, more than 70 per cent said they “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that they were concerned about how much time their kids spent with mobile apps.

A similar number agreed they’d “rather have them doing other things than playing apps.”

Only one in four parents said their kids eight and under didn’t use a mobile device at all, while it was closer to one in 10 among parents of nine- to 13-year-old kids.

© 2013 The Canadian Press

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