23-09-2015

Time to switch off the electronics and pick up a book

Author: Lucy O’Dea

That’s three times in a week now that I’ve heard about the virtues of putting down phones and tablets in favour of picking up a book. The first was when I received the latest newsletter from the headmaster of my daughter’s new school. He has just introduced a dedicated 10 minute, school-wide silent reading initiative whereby all electronic devices are discarded in favour of the book. As he wrote in his weekly missive, “All electronic devices were put away, phones and photocopiers fell dead and almost seven hundred pairs of eyes began to concentrate on a text in front of them. It was genuinely magical.”

Author: Lucy O'Dea

AttributionSome rights reserved by mobilyazilar

That’s three times in a week now that I’ve heard about the virtues of putting down phones and tablets in favour of picking up a book. The first was when I received the latest newsletter from the headmaster of my daughter’s new school. He has just introduced a dedicated 10 minute, school-wide silent reading initiative whereby all electronic devices are discarded in favour of the book. As he wrote in his weekly missive, “All electronic devices were put away, phones and photocopiers fell dead and almost seven hundred pairs of eyes began to concentrate on a text in front of them. It was genuinely magical.”

The second was when I was browsing through the Waitrose Weekend newspaper over my lunchtime sandwich. Broadcaster and columnist Mariella Frostrup was championing enforced reading time during a recent family holiday with friends. Having been pretty sceptical to start with when their hosts introduced the compulsory one hour daily reading session for the children, she was quick to recognise the change in behaviour as they soon became engrossed in pages of their latest chosen book. 

To top it all, I bumped into a friend the other day reading a Kindle. When I asked if she liked reading ‘books’ that way, she had to admit that while it was functional and convenient, it was hard to ‘flick back’ to revisit certain sections and it certainly didn’t deliver the same sense of satisfaction that reading a physical book provides.

It’s fair to say that we all recognise the convenience of obtaining information via electronic and mobile devices and the growth in sales of tablets and smartphones certainly reflect this.  According to one recent report[1], we passed the tipping point last year, when mobile users overtook desktop users for the first time, so it should come as no surprise that we are turning to these devices more and more for quick and fast information.

But if you want to sit down, relax, take your time and immerse yourself, you still can’t beat the printed word. So, it might well be time for you to consider putting down the digital word, and cast your electronic devices to one side and pick up a damned good book.


[1] Smart Insights – Mobile Marketing Statistics 2015