Today, there is something missing in our lives, something which could help us grow in a beneficial way, which could help us improve our civilization and culture. That “something” is not some angel’s spell but actually it’s the ability and skill of reading which has been engraved deep down somewhere inside us. It’s not exactly us who have made it hide but it’s the new digital technology which has done the silent brainwashing of our youth. Every new technology comes up with some benefits and drawbacks.
Nothing produced by a man is perfectly efficient & capable of providing 100% usefulness. Digital technology is the invention of a man. Although it has brought humanity a lot of benefits, it has badly affected the reading abilities of students. So instead of online readings, students should be required to read lengthy textbooks and novels in their classes because reading sharpens the reader’s mind, brings him closer to literature & keeps him up-to-date.
Reading text books sharpens the reader’s mind. As the reader goes through the pages of a book, his reading speed increases because his level of understanding the statements goes high. In 2002, Satija stated that “Reading loads the mind with new software”. (qtd. in “Impact of New Technology…”). Reading different books and novels helps readers increase their knowledge. They get to know about so many new things. It is said that some of the inventions made by the scientists were based on the imaginary and fictional things mentioned in the novels.
Reading helps the readers pick up some idea quickly. This ability helps students generate ideas while taking an exam. Sharp minded students always come up with more reproductive ideas as compared to the blunt ones. In 1994, Cole said that “Reading is to mind what exercise is to body”. (qtd. in “Impact of New Technology…”). Reading is the exercise of our brain. It enhances our mental capability and thinking power. While reading the text, there is always something new which triggers the mind of the reader to ponder over that and think deeply. This exercise of mind makes the readers’ brain sharp & strong.
Reading of different books written by different authors brings the reader closer to the literature. Reading the history books lets the reader know about the things that happened in the past. Reading the books of those past authors who have described the culture and civilization in their respective eras helps the reader know about the cultures of the people of the past and how the culture kept on changing era to era. In 2005, Makotsi stated that “Improving access to relevant information and promoting a reading culture are prerequisites for strengthening literacy skills, widening education and learning opportunities, and helping people to address the causes of poverty “. (qtd. in “Influence of Electronic…”). Reading can help someone become a good writer as the reader gains the knowledge of more and more words and the way to rightly use them.
Also the repetition of several words in the text helps him improve his vocabulary when they are used in different sentences conveying the same meaning or sometimes different meanings. Improvement of vocabulary enhances the person’s conversational skills. In 2002, Satija stated that “When students read well they are widening their mental horizons and multiply their opportunities.” (qtd. by Olszak). Reading can help one become a good debater. In fact, in every field of life, reading skills do bring benefits to the reader. W. Somerset Maugham said, “To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all miseries of life.” (qtd. by Maugham). Reading books written in some different language help the reader increase his knowledge of that particular language. The tourists who write about their journeys and trips all over the world, reading of their books can help the readers know about different places in other countries which are hidden from him.
Reading the writings of the social authors keeps the reader up-to-date to the society as their writings are the reflection of the true image of society. All the books written by the social authors of the current era depict the image of the world; reading those books can help the reader enhance his knowledge about the things happening in the world. In fact, the books written in a specific era give an overall view of the world to the reader in that respective era. Reading newspapers and journals give the readers timely news of the incidents taking place all over the world no matter whatever type of incidents they are.
As far as the benefits of digital technology are concerned, no doubt it has brought us so many benefits that we might even can’t count. The social applications like Facebook, Instagram, twitter, Blogs, online games, google, YouTube etc. have given us the opportunity to stay connected to our loved ones and all the other people all over the world. We can share pictures, videos or any kind of media within seconds with any person who may be sitting in the other corner of the world. But have you ever thought that how much harmful using the digital technology is for our health or how much it is wasting the precious time of the youth?
Researches have shown that specific kind of radiations are emitted from the digital devices which are very harmful for our eyes. Rachael Rettner writes about the effects of technology on a reader’s eyes on her website, “My Health News Daily”. She says that when a person uses technology to do their reading instead of using printed material, it can lead to a variety of damage to that person’s eyes. She mentions that it is caused by the “hours a day [spent] reading on e-readers, texting on smartphones, typing on laptops or playing on tablets”(qtd. By Willett). People who are more addicted to usage of digital technology, are the ones to suffer the most health problems in the future. Moreover, the addiction to digital technology has badly affected the daily working routine of the youth. They spend most of their time using social apps & least of their time in doing something productive.
They spend hours on using Facebook, twitter and other social sites and therefore, find no time for reading as they lose their interest in reading. Majid & Tan (2007) found that “57.6% of the children in Singapore prefer playing on computer or surfing the Internet whereas only 44.1% prefers reading as their leisure time activity” (qtd. in “Impact of New Technology…”).This badly affects their reading abilities. Also, the more the person uses internet, the more he gets away from literature. Spending the whole day sitting in front of the computers or using mobile phones, playing games on them or using social apps keeps the person from gaining literacy skills.
Literacy skills mainly come from the habit of reading. Jim Hinks says that “Literature found itself at war with the internet”. (qtd. By Belton and Wall). Also, the sites like E-book which provide the readers an easy access to reading different books are no doubt beneficial but at the same time they are harmful because when the reader continuously looks at the digital device and reads, his eyes get affected. His brain gets heavy affecting the health of the reader. The Times says that “The adverse health impacts [on the general public] from making one e-reader are estimated to be 70 times greater than those for making a single book.” (qtd. by Henderson).
Things which we learn from reading can never be learnt from the digital technology. Reading textbooks is never a wastage of time while the overuse of digital technology is a wastage of time. Also, the reading is an exercise for the reader’s mind and eyes while using digital technology has bad effect on the eyesight and brain. One feels more stressed after the hours use of technology while reading for hours is peaceful for the reader’s mind and soul. Technology takes the person away from literature while reading is the best way to enhance literacy skills.
Shortly, reading textbooks has many more benefits which technology does not have. Reading has always been an important part of education and always would be. The importance of reading textbooks can not at all be denied because reading is the base for gaining knowledge in a proper and peaceful way. To enhance the mental capabilities, the students should be required to read lengthy textbooks and novels in the classes so that they may come up with something productive in their future.
Loan Fayaz Ahmad. “Impact of New Technology on Reading Habits: A Glimpse on the World Literature”. Web. Feb 11, 2009
Igbokwe J.C. , N.A. Obidike and E.C. Ezeji. “Influence of Electronic Media on Reading Ability of School Children”. Web. 2012
Belton Padraig and Matthew Wall. “Did technology kill the book or give it new life?”. BBC News. Web. Aug 14 2015
Willett Darian. “Does Technology Affect Reading?”. Blogspot. Web. Thursday, November 22, 2012
Henderson Bill. “Books Without Batteries: The Negative Impacts of Technology”. Publishers Weekly. Web. April 11, 2011
Olszak Izabela. “The effect of online tools on reading habits among teenage students. Model of chances and dangers”. Vol. 16. Web. 2015
Maugham W. Somerset. “20 Reasons for Decline in Reading Habit”. Study Mode Research. Web. October 31, 2011.