Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Has Technology Changed Reading Habits?

Has Technology Changed Reading Habits?
by Karen Anderson

If there’s one thing that can be said for certain about technology, it’s that it is constantly changing and also bringing about change. We have come further in the last 20 years than the 50 years preceding them, and the change is entirely because of technology. As with any aspect, technology has its good and bad side – on the one hand, it is seen as a cause for the deterioration of morals and society at large, and on the other, it has improved our world and our lives in ways that we could not have even imagined. So when it comes to reading, what’s the consensus? Has technology and the Internet changed the habit radically?

To answer this question comprehensively, we would have to travel a few years into the past and see what reading was like then – if memory serves me correctly, reading meant you had a book or magazine or newspaper in your hand. It referred to printed matter on paper that was either bound or loosely held together. And books were the mainstay of reading as a habit – you carried them around with you and read them whenever you could.

Today however, that is not the case – your options have increased manifold; you can read from the Internet, you have eBooks, and you don’t even have to depend on paper anymore. In fact, because of the easy access to books and other reading material:
  • More people are reading now because they practically live online and there is so much to read on the Internet.
  • The habit of reading books has been rekindled by Kindle and other eReaders. It’s a fashion statement to own one and it makes it easier to read when you’re on the go.
  • The Internet and technology has made it easier for us to access books and other reading material.
  • It is now cheaper to read because the competition has increased and more and more people are writing for the web.
So all in all, we can see that technology has had a very positive effect on reading. The only drawback is that people’s attention spans have become shorter and we’re more pressed for time because we have so many things to do at once. So we tend to read what is compressed and concise and which registers in our minds in a few minutes. Gone are the days where reading was a leisurely habit – today, it’s more on the go and in an instant. Also, reading has moved away from paper and towards electronics, which is a very good thing considering that we have to save paper in order to save the trees and save our environment. So yes, we can say that technology has changed the reading habit considerably, and it’s not all bad as you would think.

This guest post is contributed by Karen Anderson, who writes on the topic of online bible college. She welcomes your comments at her email id :

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Barb Webb said...

Interesting article with many good points! For us, avid readers, the internet is a blessing and certainly an eco-friendly way with the delevopements in electronic press.

To add... the internet is also has another drawback, studies are finding that people's reading skills are not increasing with internet usage, but rather that literacy is even a bigger issue. In other words, people are reading at a lower reading level than we were a decade ago.

We still need to combat technology by teaching reading skills and encourage a love of reading. :)