Any research about children perceiving information on screen vs on paper?

Hi there,
I am currently doing an MA in education and am interested in looking at how children perceive information on screens versus on paper and whether they have an inherent bias towards one medium being preferable over the other. Does anyone know of any research, journals, books etc. that may deal with this or related topics?

Your recommendations would be greatly appreicated, along with your thoughts on the topic.

1 Like

I can’t point to any research off hand but do know over time kids/adults do eventually (in what time frame?) prefer screens due to the dopamine surge which occurs in the brain- this mimics a sugar high or cocaine.

After reading books on screens everyday at school for 2 weeks my 3rd grader daughter at the time said… what is the point of reading a book? How much can a person read anyways. So I yanked the screens at school- became very unpopular in this area. But within 2 weeks my daughter was voraciously devouring books again like before. I know all kids are affected by screens differently. My daughter is very sensitive to her environment in other ways too.

Just found this article so I’ll add it in with my edit… Towards the middle or last 2/3 it mentions dopamine and pleasure Center if the brain in developing brains.

1 Like

Best and most timely book on this subject is probably Maryanne Wolf’s Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World.

1 Like

Note that we have had a bunch of discussions on this topic before. Also looking at these is a great way to find other members that are on to this topic. You can use the Search function of the forum to finds these. Some reference (probably there are more):

Also, I just retweeted this about the subject:

1 Like

For a starting point, try this:

You might be able to link to sources and some of the ongoing work in this area. Much will depend on the ages of the children you are studying.

1 Like

I found this article via Twitter @Screensandkids:

Here’s the background information on the NIH study that @andersoncooper & @60minutes covered. Negative health impacts of classroom screens needs coverage too. MD passed new law protecting students.

This is a very broad study, not only focusing on screen time, but it has a reference to a study exclusively focused on that topic too:


  • Screen media activity is a common recreational activity in children and adolescents.
  • The manuscript focuses on how screen media activity is related to structural brain characteristics.
  • Structural correlation networks were identified supporting the maturational coupling hypothesis.
  • Some networks were associated with for externalizing psychopathology, fluid and crystallized intelligence.
1 Like

Sogeti Labs published a very interesting paper that analyses the current generation of young people and how they cope with the digital onslaught of information.

The 52-page PDF is free to download under CC-BY-SA license. An important paper and references to more good stuff here.

I saw another alternative here which is the eye-friendly E Ink display that some e-readers and second phone have. Is this really a good non-digital / blue-light alternative?

Thanks in advance