By Kayode Adegbehingbe
Reading expands the mind. If you have the love of reading you get to find out the truth for yourself.
But with the advent of social media, it can be argued that students now prefer to pay attention to their online connection rather than widen their horizon through reading.
Even in class when instructions are given for different subjects some would rather plant their nose inside the mobile devices, preoccupied with pornographic scenes, or chatting with friends (real or unreal) across the world.
As the cost of data for browsing plummets, young people are finding it easier to spend longer time online. Sleeping time to refresh the mind for the next day’s work, are jettisoned for surfing the net.
This is because with the latter, there is immediate sense of gratification, and that enjoyment can slowly but surely drown away the desire to really spend hours reading.
In time past, what parents worry about mostly about their children is bad friends that they can see, so they try to monitor their movement, even ensuring that some do not leave the house for whatever reason.
But now things are different. We have predators online, who have perfected the art of drawing the young, the naive into their nets. Other features of the virtual landscape contain existential traps.
What happens eventually is that the potentials of the young people are not fully exploited. Their attention span gets shorter and shorter, thereby compromising their ability to learn anything meaningful.
The social media promise no pain, but much gain, full of flintingmpleasure pleasure, which is antithetical to the real life. And it has become, not just a tool, but an addiction. Not to hold the phone or have it near has become an intolerable condition.
For parents, rather than be in a hurry to invest in phones for your children, how about buying them books? But that will truly be meaningless unless they see you reading yourself. The example you set is more powerful than the commandment you give.
They say leaders are readers. Children are not just supposed to be focused on reading novels (which is good, depending on the type) or reading their subject textbooks, there is more to the world of reading than those two.
There are motivational, inspirational, and historical books, which serve different purposes.
Motivational books help to reorientate the mind concerning what is possible, and how they can be achieved. Inspiration books gives you a peep into the unseen dimension of life. And historical books help you to situate yourself properly in the world’s dynamics.
Newspapers offer current affairs, but without the appropriate understanding of history, what is current may be misunderstood.
The more you read the more knowledge you get and that also translates into wisdom which is about problem solving. It is the problem you can solve which determines your value, hence your employability.
If you expand your desire to always be with the computer or the mobile phone to the problem-solving arena, then good for you. You will have to go beyond the surface or just being a casual user to know more about the principles and dynamics behind the ordinary user experience. It also means reading what the ordinary user either does not have the time for or is just not interested in.
Reading is the gateway to learning, and it can either be online or in hardcopy but it must be beyond what the social media can offer, in free rein of sentimental nonsense. We should be careful about undue addiction to it.
However, children should be encouraged to read anything they can lay their hands on from the labels on groceries to dictionaries.