Does Surfing Equal Reading?

Experts debate whether kids' online time is as educational as hitting the books
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jul 27, 2008 2:34 PM CDT
Kids are spending more time online and less time reading books.   (
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – As kids spend more time on the internet and less time reading books, a debate is raging over whether online reading is as educational as the traditional kind, the New York Times reports. While the Web allows readers to quickly gobble up multiple perspectives and information, some experts worry that the internet-obsessed are hurting their intellectual development—which they believe is demonstrated by falling test scores.

“Whatever the benefits of newer electronic media, they provide no measurable substitute for the intellectual and personal development initiated and sustained by frequent reading," said a researcher. But the jury's still out. In a recent study, test scores climbed for low-income children after they were given home internet access. For kids who might not usually be reading in their free time, “once they’re on the internet, they’re reading,” insisted one analyst.