Books May 27, 2010 at 11:45 am


I'm not going to actually read the story, but I'm assuming that they limit the survey to certain age groups?

Or, perhaps, the youngsters that do have books are what make the 75% number so high?

My daughter asked me for a cell phone once (she's 7). I told her when she gets a job, she can have a phone. Damn kids with their lazy ass non-working-work-ethics...

but she does love books, even books without pictures.
Parents are giving 7 year old cell phones? Fuck that. I'll give my kid a beeper when he's 13.
As part of the latest study, the trust surveyed more than 17,000 schoolchildren aged seven to 16.

It found that 85.5 per cent of pupils had their own mobile phone, compared with 72.6 per cent who had their own books. Among children in Key Stage 2 – aged seven to 11 – 79.1 per cent had a mobile compared with 72.7 per cent who had access to books.

So the number doesn't match your statement, Paul, but there are more kids with cell phones.

HOWEVER.... The question that ought to be asked is this: Do fewer kids today have books than in the past? The cell phone thing is a red herring. 25 years ago they could have said "more kids have access to TV than books." Big fucking deal, if the number of kids with books was about the same then as it is now.
Well it was a survey of children, so there is that to take into account.
Correction @ 3 - where I say "kids" I mean seven year olds specifically.
@3: I find some of the wording confusing. So is this about kids who have their OWN books, or have *access* to books? I think it's probably the former, but there's a pretty huge different there.
The iPhone makes a great eReader.

Besides, there are these things called Libraries - they even have them at schools.
reminds me of the TBTL interview with Garfunkel & Oates -- One of them (can't remember which) goes on a tear about how audio books are just as good as the real thing and that there's no point to actually reading books if you can just hear them instead.

yikes! :)
Yet another bullshit study proving kids today aren't as educated as kids yesterday. When I was in high school the obsession was over whether or not we know which half of the 19th century the Civil War took place in. They did surveys on campuses and then tut tutted at how ignorant the kids are these days.

One way to challenge this thinking is to ask whose digital clocks are always blinking 12:00? The older generation, or the younger? Who was most likely to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction? Old or young? Who thinks Obama was born in Kenya? Probably grandma, huh? Who hacked the original iPhone within one day of its release? Probably wasn't grandma, was it?

It just doesn't add up. If our parents and grandparents were so smart, how come they believed utter bullshit like that it was necessary to put the Japanese in internment camps during WWII? Or that the Soviets had more bombers than the US did in the early 1950s? Or believed the Gulf of Tonkin hoax that led to the escalation in Vietnam? Fat lot of good it does you to be so literate if you don't use your literacy to learn anything that matters.

If stupid is as stupid does, the older generations have a lot more stupid to answer for than the younger. Maybe the kids will catch up but that would take some effort.

How many of these kids know cursive?
Yabbut, Elenchos, Granma had a bible and a copy of "Health and Truth" by Elbert Hubbard, so she had "access to books" and was thus a lot better than you or me, who have never even seen one.
@2 ftw.
Yes, this is all part of the "Illiteracy UK" campaign that's been going on since 1980.

Did you not get the memo?

Oh, sorry. Next time I'll send pictographs.

Sheep farming in the Faulklands
Rearming in the Faulklands

How is a book going to get a kid out of the basement of a ranch house in Chico, owned by some psychopath?

Case closed! Give them cell phones when they're born!

I'm worried about the decline of reading in editors who can't tell the Guardian from the Telegraph.
You made me look that up, Fnarf:

The original way of breathing, before the nose-dimples or pits opened
through into the throat, was through the mouth; and that is one reason why it is so easy to fall into the bad habit of mouth-breathing whenever the nose gets blocked by _adenoids_ or _catarrh_. Some creatures--fishes, for instance,--breathe through their mouths entirely; if you watch one in an aquarium or a clear stream, you will easily see that it is going "gulp, gulp, gulp" constantly. The saying "to drink like a fish" is a slander upon an innocent creature; for what it is really doing is breathing, not drinking
I had no idea.
I heard kids today don't keep handwritten letters from their friends in shoe boxes anymore either. Something about eee-lectronic mail. Hell in a handbasket, I tell you!
@16, wrong book, Elenchos.

Elbert Hubbard was a popular American philosopher fond of pithy aphorisms -- "Self-reliance, self-control and self-respect are the three things that make a man a man" and "No one ever gets far unless he accomplishes the impossible at least once a day", that sort of thing.

You would have been hard-pressed to find an American home in 1920 without one of his books in it. No relation to L. Ron of Scientology fame.
i'm a maths teacher in a secondary school in the uk and the kids can't do maths because they can't read the questions. the page format is meaningless to them. they use the apps on their phones as calculators despite constant reprisals. they just don't see how a mobile can be left at home or not used for longer than an hour. and the stats are totally spot on as far as i can tell, in fact the truth is possibly worse. their parents, who are kids themselves, are utterly locked into the cellphone world and won't leave it for love or money. it's more important and life defining than their family in most cases. and forget books. we are closing down libraries over here. schools are closing their libraries, claiming that internet access to literature is more important and less costly. it's a sad joke.

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