Children spend so much time on Twitter and mobile phones these days, the chair of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction laments, that they are losing their love for novels and reading.
Dame Stella Rimington, the former head of MI5, said she was concerned that pupils were missing out on the pleasure of books as electronic communications increasingly dominate their lives.
Rimington said that while she was confident a market for fiction would still exist in 100 years, she feared many children were not growing up to be book lovers.
"I think much of the Twittering and emailing and texting and all that sort of stuff that children go in for now may be taking their eyes off reading fiction. When I was young we read more than the average child reads now," the Telegraph quoted Rimington as saying.
Teachers needed to find ways to instil a love of fiction in children, she said, although electronic "reader" devices that can store hundreds of books and newspapers, such as the Amazon Kindle, "could help turn the tide".