“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” – Marcus Tullius Cicero.
With the growing influence and liking towards social media, it will surely become difficult to fill the room with books. A survey in UK showed that with the increasing age, the tendency to read a book decreases; the effect profoundly seen when comparison was made between three age groups – six to eight, 12-14 and 15-17 year old. There have been frowns from parents and many quarters of society towards the teen indulgence in FB, internet and other social media websites. They are not happy with the neglect of reading books. Thus it’s worthwhile to discuss on the thought that whether social media is killing the practice of reading books?
Yes they are affecting –
1. Social media is unproductive use of time as it only entertains you and gives no food for thought.
2. The amount of education you get from it is very less compared to reading books.
3. It hampers creativity as much of the time is spent on forwarding things to others.
4. Most of the time is spent in searching what others are doing, which can be well spent in reading which atleast adds knowledge to your own life.
5. Another prominent example can be the usage of ‘new’ abbreviations to express oneself on the social media. This hampers the language development which in turn affects writing and reading both.
6. Due to the fast changing content on such websites, the attention span of the readers has reduced. So an important habit of thinking over a thought, giving it time to percolate in your mind, is reduced to a great extent. This is one of the benefits of the book. Books cultivate the capacity to understand and think.
7. Good reading habit makes way for a better understanding of one’s experiences however social media mostly indulges the cravings of people rather than what is good for them.
8. The role models who the teens follow too are more active on the social media. Teens try to emulate them.
No, they do not affect –
1. Times change and with it, habits. Even if people are moving away from reading, one can always devise better ways to indulge them in reading. One cannot blame everything on change in culture and social media.
2. Teens are just trying to find themselves and prioritize socialization over reading something alone.
3. They are getting connected instead of being alone.
4. With increasing age there is bound to be changes in tendency as teenagers feel the need to establish one’s presence in society, find one’s position and hence use all the methods available to socialize; an important one being the social media.
5. They are learning to find themselves with the social media. This is in no way affecting reading.
6. Socialization is their current priority, but this does not mean that social media is affecting reading books.
7. There is lack of literature which can suit contemporary needs and thoughts. The classics might be good but do not necessarily suit everyone.
8. Also disinterest in reading is mostly seen due to no encouragement to reading. For this, parents, peer groups, teachers, etc. could be blamed, rather than social media.
Reading enriches ones’ intellectual abilities. Depth in reading helps to develop the mind and personality of a person; it provides insights into human problems, and influences attitudes and behavior. In other words, reading helps to mould a person’s character. It is well known that books can be a stimulating agent for building oneself. In this fast changing world, there are going to be lots of distractions. We must innovate to make book-reading relevant again. Encouraging book-reading through social media, incorporating reading in social media, eBooks, developing relevant and quality literature, role models with whom the teens can connect, etc. can be a few starting steps. Instead of blaming we need to work constructively so as to not deny ourselves the benefits of social media.