In honor of talks in the school about safeguarding in relation to technology use, below is a throwback from last year’s print article “Fighting a Digital Battle” written by Media Editor Emily Forgash.
In a world where the swipe of a screen is quicker than the turn of a page, I find that many teenagers instinctively reach for their phones because reading a book is too taxing. Some students can live as if they’re driving on a highway, and reading is like swerving onto a country road; they grow impatient with the slow speed. In short, the world seems like it is having trouble living at the pace of books.
People are accustomed to instant gratification while watching a Netflix plot unravel before them, their eyes glued to the screen. Most students would rather passively watch TV in their free time, instead of actively engaging their brain through reading. Just like your body, your brain needs exercise; similar to working out in the gym, one must exercise their brain.
The many benefits of reading are often repeated by English teachers. Many say that great writing comes from frequent reading. Although the benefits that come from reading are well known, such as gaining inspiration from outstanding literature and, predominantly, expanding your vocabulary, the allure of technology overshadows these advantages.
Imagine how many miles you’ve pointlessly scrolled with your thumb. The act of picking up our phones as soon as we’re bored is something that has been ingrained in our culture. It is as if a virus has developed in almost everyone.
Having a television in our pockets and social media just a few clicks away has a gradual harmful effect. It has gotten to the point that our use of technology could be seen as an addiction, the obsessive way that people reach for their phones for the fear of missing anything. If you’re not on social media 24/7, missing posts is inevitable. Everyone has succumbed to technology at one point or another, but only a few can say that they have prioritized reading.
For me, finishing a good book, like Gold by Chris Cleave, is always bittersweet. I get a lingering feeling of missing the characters that I grew so acquainted to and learned so much about. If the author did their job, I feel like I went through their hardships and successes with them. Yet the silver lining of finishing a book is the chance to pick out a new book and learn about something new.
I cannot go to bed without reading. It is one of the most positive things in my life, as I read countless studies saying that staring at a screen before going to bed is unhealthy. Books are nothing but beneficial to me.
For me, the reasons for trading screens for books are endless. Books allow me to explore places that I would never otherwise visit, to broaden my knowledge of the world, to expand my vocabulary and to create my own world with the characters. When weighing these reasons against the dependence of technology, it is your choice which side comes on top. I challenge you to trade in notifications for chapters.