Last month’s poll
In March, we looked at how much we integrate activity into our daily lives. This did not include going to the gym; this was about lifestyle activity. Out of 20 voters: 10% get 15 minutes or less “lifestyle activity” each day, 50% get about 30 minutes, and 40% get an hour or more! It’s nice to see that so many people incorporate exercise into their daily living.
This month’s poll
One of the classes that I took this past semester was called Revolutions in Communication. Besides being taught by one of my favourite professors, it was an excellent class in which we looked at how communication has evolved over time. We studied oral societies, the phenomena of fairy tales, the effects of reading and technology on the brain, the impact of “the screen” (television and computers), and the evolution of journalism.
One of the things we learned, which really stood out for me, was how much reading does for us. Literacy rates have declined drastically over the years, resulting in a severe degradation of mental capacity. Countless studies have shown, time and again, that plopping a child in front of a screen is not the same as giving them a book to read- even if the show is a “learning” program such as Sesame Street, and even if the book isn’t great writing, such as Twilight (don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the story just as much as the next pre-teen girl. But you’ve got to admit that the writing is, well, awful).
“Back in the day” when I was a child, oh so many years ago (tehe), we didn’t own a computer. We had a VCR, but we didn’t have cable. The sistertraveller and I read books. And we played in cardboard boxes (because toys are never as much fun as the cardboard box that the toy comes in!). I don’t remember using a computer before I was in grade 5, and even when I started using one, I spent far more of my time reading books than on the computer. I believe that the majority of my computer-time was spent on homework or writing my own fictional stories rather than surfing the net, too.
But that’s not what happens these days. Children grow up with DVD players built into their cars. They’re taught how to type on a keyboard at the same time as they learn how to write letters. That’s how they get to university and can’t string together words to make a coherent sentence. Televisions and computers serve as babysitters for children. Now, I remember taking care of Vic and Ale when I was living as an au pair in Spain, so don’t get me wrong: parents, I completely understand that you would want a break from taking care of your kids. I only had to look after those girls for three months and I was dead exhausted by the end of it. Combine the unending supply of energy that children have with the sugar that we feed them and it’s no wonder that parents are setting their children in front of a screen. But it’s a real pity that children aren’t reading books instead.
As a blogger, I obviously feel as though the Internet is a wonderful creation and that there’s a lot to learn. But at the same time, we read differently on a screen than we do from a book. We skim much more when we read off of a screen, and we don’t learn any new (or rare) words. Bottom line: the screen is great, but kids should learn how to read books and spend the majority of their time with books as they grow up; screens should simply be a supplement to their learning, not a replacement for books.
I’ve been spending most of the past year reading books for university (or health-related books), but within the past couple months, I’ve started reading novels again before bed. It’s a nice way to stimulate the brain and to unwind at the end of a long day. I’ve sincerely missed reading novels.
How often do you read books (including fiction and non-fiction)? Do you think the screen is an adequate replacement for books? Are you as horrified as I am about the serious lack of reading that kids do these days? Answer the poll and elaborate in the comments!
We’ll return to our Budgeting mini-series on Monday with Part Four: Eating Healthy on a Budget!