Parents and kids choose print over e-reading, says Egmont Publishing

The result of a new study commissioned by the leading children's publisher has discovered that reading printed titles creates a greater bond between parents and kids.
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Printed titles still carry more weight than eBooks and digital reading, according to the latest study from book specialist Egmont Publishing.

New research from the children’s publishing house has uncovered that when it comes to creating an emotional bond between parents and their young children, the power of print is ‘second to none.’

In a commissioned study carried out by FamilyKids and Youth and the University of Sussex’s Children and Technology Lab, Egmont set out to compare the experience of reading in print with digital reading devices.

By measuring the physical reaction of a child to reading, the findings highlighted that most parents and children preferred to read print books rather than stories on screens.

Closer physical contact between parents and children was one of the observations ethnographers made when comparing print reading with digital reading, alongside better eye contact as kids turned to look at where the sounds were coming from.

Researchers used Galvanic Skin Response to measure the physical reaction to reading. A slightly higher response was noted with digital reading compared to print. Researchers attributed this to the more calming effect of having a print book read to a child.

Alison David, consumer insight director at Egmont Publishing, said: “Print is preferred for reading together and eBooks and book apps work well for the child’s solo use.

“Our understanding of why print resonates with children and parents has deepened. For parents, reading to their children is nothing less than an expression of love. It’s fun, deeply reassuring for children, calming and bonding – and it’s time off screen.

“Books and magazines offer some ‘still’ time among the relentless speed of family life.”

Dr. Barbie Clarke, FamilyKids and Youth research agency, added: “We have carried out many in-depth and ethnographic studies with families but rarely has a piece of research touched such a resonant chord.

“Parents clearly felt a deep emotional connection with their child when they read to them using a print book, especially so when reading the bedtime story, raising memories of their own childhood and a sense of nostalgia for when life seemed simple and they felt safe.”

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