Monday, July 14, 2008

Tech-Savvy Teens and Real Books

No one is more web-savvy than today's middle schoolers and high schoolers.
They have grown up with cable television and videos for entertainment, video game systems, internet access, social networking, laptops in their classrooms, and cell phones.

A Yahoo study from back in 2003 said that at that time, 82% of teens have a computer and 78% use the web to help with schoolwork. It also shows teens spend more time on the computer than using any other media (including TV!). And that was in 2003. Now, a mere five years later, there are armies of elementary school students with their own cell phones and laptops.

I compare this with my teen years, when we had a television with three channels that we had to get up to change, and a rotary dial telephone in the kitchen. We didn't even have dimmer switches on our lights. But I always had a paperback at my bedside, in my book bag, and often folded into the back pocket of my cutoffs. Technology didn't take up much of my time because we didn't have any technology! I remember going over to my best friend's house just to watch her mother cook a chicken in the microwave.

I had time for drawing, riding my bike to the library, reading hundreds of books per year, playing music, making my own music, and just dreaming.

Parents, make real books available for your children. Have a library night once a week.
Pick a piece of literature and read it out loud a few nights a week, send them emails of great literature lists ( is one), and ask them which ones they would like to read. Or, get heavy handed and bring books home for them and have them read thirty minutes a day. With anything, technology included, there has to be a balance. It's not all about entertainment.