Just 15% of children and young people say they write in their free time, finds survey

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9th July 2021 12:25 - Education

Just 15% of children and young people say they write in their free time: A survey by the National Literacy Trust has revealed only one in seven children and young people write every day in their spare time. This is down from 22% when the same poll was conducted in 2020 and is the lowest result since the survey started in 2010.

The research polled over 40,000 children aged between 8 and 18-years, and also found a disparity between boys and girls in terms of their enjoyment from writing. Two in five girls were found to enjoy writing in their free time, while just one in four boys did the same. Similarly, the survey uncovered that writing enjoyment decreases with age; the older the participant, the less likely they are to write in their free time. Children aged eight-years-old are nearly twice as likely to enjoy writing as someone who is aged 16 or over.

When asked about their reasons for writing in their free time, 38% stated it makes them feel better; with some expressing that writing helps with their anxiety. Furthermore, 35% stated they find pleasure in writing, compared to 40% on the survey the previous year. 

This decline in popularity for writing could be down to the pandemic; with schools forced to close and a break in education in traditional school settings. However, 92% of participants admitted to writing text messages or direct messages, making it the most popular form of writing amongst young people. Also, the number of children and young people using in-game communications was noticeably high at 84%.

Jonathon Douglas, chief executive at the National Literacy Trust, said: “We know that creative writing has the wonderful ability to boost children and young people’s wellbeing and help them feel connected to the world.”

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