I have four kids, three boys and a girl. The boys are all older but my daughter is 13. She is at the hub of the digital pushover and, to be honest, I’m inept at handling the hand-off. As a writer I have a special place in my heart for good old fashioned books. I know what it’s like to hide under the blankets with a flashlight reading way past my bedtime and trying not to get caught. I know the smell of freshly turned pages and the joy of seeing a book so dog eared that it reminds me just how good that book was. Today we live in a very different world.
My daughter and her friends all have iPads, Kindles, and smart phones. They don’t pick up a book, they read on their device. The need for a flashlight under the covers is gone because what they read now is “backlit”. It kind of makes me sad. However, while it makes me sad I am also encouraged by the fact that many of the kids today are rediscovering reading through the digital devices. Maybe it’s because they think that it is cooler but according to statistics more and more kids are turning back towards reading and, well, I can’t argue with that.
I still send my daughter to the library at least once a month and tell her to pick out a book. She whines, asks if she can get it on her Kindle but then grudgingly goes anyways. While she is there something amazing happens and for just a little bit she gets lost in the stacks. She does always bring a book home and she reads it but then it is back to the device. I do realize that there may well come a day when all books are digitized but until then I will continue to shove my kids in both directions. Let’s be honest, reading an actual book and reading on a device are two different experiences and I want them to have both. One day they may tell their kids that gramps use to “make” them read dusty old books with “actual” pages but I don’t care….at least they will be able to say they have held an actual book in their hands.
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