Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Reading Obsession

I was thinking the other day about a lot of the common complaints made about video games and tv, reasons given for why they are "bad for you," and how many of them also apply to (...drum roll...) reading, an  activity that almost everyone agrees is Very Good For You. And so I started writing a tongue-in-cheek pearl-clutching post about it in my head. Something along the lines of...

You know, we really should be more concerned with the connection between reading books and childhood obesity. Reading is so SEDENTARY. You just SIT and read. You can't do anything else. Some kids sit and read for HOURS at a time, hardly moving for anything other than shifting their position so their leg doesn't fall asleep. How can that be good for them??

And it's so SOLITARY and ISOLATIONIST. These kids who spend hours reading, they don't talk to anyone else that whole time! They are off in their own dream world, away from the REAL world they need to learn from. How can they develop any social skills if they just read about made-up stuff all the time? I mean, at least when kids are watching TV or playing a game it's usually with other people...

And kids can really become OBSESSIVE about these books. It's like authors are purposefully trying to make the books as interesting and addictive as possible. I've known people who would stay up ALL NIGHT just to finish a book! They won't stop to eat or sleep, because they are so engrossed in the book! That CAN'T be healthy... It's even happened to me, when I get really into a good book I almost can't stop thinking about it, all I want to do is spend all my free time reading till I finish it.

...sounds silly, right? And yes, I am a confessed bookworm and love reading and books, and certainly don't think any of this stuff. But it helps put the complaints about "screens" a little differently, right? We forgive these things because we accept that reading is a fun and good activity. Why can't we see or say the same about playing video games?

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