I always get a little amazed when my little ones are able to show me how to do something on the computer. I am pretty computer saavy, but they know a lot! My 3 kids love to read and I am soooooo thankful for that. I have many warm, fond memories of cuddling around a good book every night with these 3 little cherubs, which continues into today, so my heart sank when I heard it said that at some point, paper books that you can hold in your hand will be replaced completely by the ones lit up by backlight and a screen. Even though they would know their way around this big time, what might we miss?
I can feel the recycling crowd cringing right now as this seems like an opportunity to save a lot of trees and lower our paper consumption, but there is just something so special about cuddling around that book with the pictures. The feel of turning the pages and even the smell of a brand new book. We will miss all of that.
I also wonder about increased screen time for my kid’s eyes and posture and sleep. According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, D.O., "Glowing Gadgets Fool Your Brain and Disrupt Your Circadian Rhythms". Circadian Rhythms are what control the times we sleep and the times we don’t. A cuddly book at the end of the night is there to calm the child and help them get ready to sleep. I doubt very much that a backlit screen will do the same. I haven’t seen it, but would love to see a study done on the levels of ADHD and other diagnosable conditions in our kids, and see if there is a correlation with the growth in screen time.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not one of those "ban the screen" people, who wants to get rid of computers and go back to the old-fashioned way completely. There are days I cannot imagine how I got along before my Yahoo calendar or my blogs, but there has to be a balance.
Rodgers Forge Elementary School kindergarten teacher Deborah Hughey compares reading an e-book to seeing a picture of Vincent van Gogh's paintings of sunflowers rather than the real painting with its three-dimensional feel.
While I agree with Deborah Hughey, I also know that for some who do not have access to books, ebooks can open up a whole new world for them.
As for us, we don’t know if this world with no paper books will come to pass, but we are saving our books so if it does, our kids have some paper books to share with their children so they can cuddle around the pictures and not the screen.
Dr. Sherri is a Child and Family Psychologist at http://www.happyfamilysite.com