A few extracts from the book related to this:
(p181-182) With the growth of tablet devices and e-readers, one of the leading debates is about both the quality and the quantity of reading. The CHILDWISE 2012 Report points to the 30 per cent that read often for pleasure, although 17 per cent never do so, with 14 per cent of boys and 11 per cent of girls favouring e-books over printed books:
At age 7–8, children are becoming confident, established readers, but do not have the entrenched familiarity with traditional books that exists among older children.
With technological developments such as flowable text and full colour, e-readers have become a more appealing prospect, especially for children of eleven plus. Sarah Odedina, Managing Director of Hot Key Books, a publisher of children’s fiction, says:
It is entirely possible that people will be more used to reading from a screen than a page, and I do not think it matters in the least, so long as they are reading.9
Baroness Greenfield, a neuroscientist, agreed with the National Literacy Trust (NLT) that there is “no conclusive evidence that reading standards are deteriorating”, as reading from a screen is just as good as reading from a book. NLT director Jonathan Douglas added that the growth in children’s digital reading was “an opportunity for publishers, not a warning knell”, and said the children’s market was beginning to mirror the way the adult market has developed as the number of children reading digitally increases. He also said there was a “clear relationship between attainment and reading patterns”, with those children with a “balanced diet of print and digital” achieving a higher level of literacy.10
Hanna Rosin challenges the notion that books are inherently better than screens, observing that her daughter tends to use books to avoid social interaction, whilst her son uses the Wii to connect with friends.
(p190) It’s clear that game developers have taken the time to learn about human psychology: what will cause us to “play just one more level” and in the process lose several hours (or even days/ weeks) of our lives, as well as large sums of money (many games are initially free, but you pay for in-game purchases, which can quickly add up). Again, technology magazine The Next Web raises the question of whether “addiction” is the right term:
Why do we stigmatize certain engrossments more than others? When my kid reads books all day, my partner and I are happy about it. When he plays games all day, we are not. Who is to say one is better or worse than the other?11
Digiexplorer (not guru), Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing @ Manchester Metropolitan University. Interested in digital literacy and digital culture in the third sector (especially faith). Author of ‘Raising Children in a Digital Age’, regularly checks hashtag #DigitalParenting.