Reading gives us joy. The world belongs to those who read. Readers are the leaders of the nation. But alas, with technology in vogue, we have lost the joy of traditional reading.
The habit of reading in print has almost vanished now. Now grabbing a book or a newspaper seems odd. However, those having developed the habit of offline mode of reading, still find books alluring.
A voracious and ardent reader would literally prefer print-reading over online mode of reading.
But nowadays, everyone seems to rely fully on online mode of reading. But then discretion lies in assessing that does these technological advances of living actually help us or not.
Being in touch with happenings around us is good but at the sometime what is most important is not to let reading on screen interfere with in-depth offline reading.
Reading is a multi-sensory experience. And the maximum involvement of senses occurs when reading occurs in offline mode. Reading is hassle free when it is in print where as readers, we don’t have to depend too much on internet services.
But nowadays, when the accessibility to internet is decent enough, things seem to flash on the screen of our smart cell-phones. The screen flavor, undoubtedly, takes us from nowhere to everywhere thereby snatching us of our age old legacy of reading in print.
Nowadays, all of us prefer reading newspapers, books, journals, and magazines in online mode due to easy internet accessibility. But have we ever pondered over it that how much harmful and pernicious it all is. With each passing day, we miss the feel of holding a book in our hands.
The first things we did with a hot cup of tea early morning was indeed reading a hardcopy of a newspaper and get absorbed in the world of wisdom put into words.
This trend was slow and steady though, yet it would of course keep us updated all day. But then came online (virtual) version of reading, and readers started following it like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Agreed, it is need of the hour, yet, we must assess things critically and adopt the ways of reading which are highly helpful.
Offline mode of reading concedes a connectivity while as the online method is disjointed. The former is in-depth, productive, distraction-less where as the latter lacks tactile experience, hypertexts are distracting and hard to navigate, shallow and full of distractions.
Experts are of the opinion that when people read offline, they performed better in concentration, comprehension, absorption and recall. However, online reading performed better in only one category and that is total words consumed.
In present times, majority of readers prefer reading a newspaper or a book in an online medium. Though they are well aware of the harmful effects of it, yet, they keep pace with newer methods of technology not knowing how much detrimental it is.
I believe how much techno-savvy we’ll become, the online medium of reading will never triumph over the offline mode. The online mode of reading strains and taxes our eyes and is devoid of the divine feeling.
Headaches and neck pain are the biggest complaints of e-readers. Nearly 70% of American adults show these side effects according to the ACB news report. And the concern is higher for children.
We can no longer deny the insidious cognitive effects of reading online. Researchers at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand have proven that when participants read offline, they performed better than the online readers.
No doubt, internet is an amazing creation. Yet, we must agree that relying too much on it is like accepting fast food whose ill-effects are known to everyone. And, if we want to maintain the kind of thoughtful, reflective, curious minds that engineered the internet in the first place, it’s time to realise what reading online is doing to our brains.
With technological progress, the internet connectivity also offers pitfalls that challenge us to develop better habits, among which we should include the conscious cultivation of our brains with offline reading.
According to a research, the brains act of reading uses not just sight, but also the act of touch. Holding a physical page of a newspaper or a book makes it more absorbable.
Shift from paper to screen doesn’t change the way; we navigate a piece of writing. It also influences the degree of attention we devote to it and the depth of our immersion in it.
The online reading (digital device reading) is distracting and virtually shallow compared to offline medium of reading which is in-depth and involves thoughtful pondering, critical analysis, and influential thinking.
About 92% of US students prefer offline (hardcopy) reading over the online reading because for them the experience of feeling the pages, being able to know where they are in the text, the ability to flip back & forth is something valuable, and distraction free.
My mentor and guide, Professor Dr. Navidita Mukerjee regarding offline reading says, “I am proud to be an offline reader than a screen reader. Reading in print provides me joy and contentment. I really love to grab a newspaper or a book in print to get engrossed in the pages than skimming the text so quickly by scrolling the screen up and down just looking for the key terms without concentration.”
Come; let’s inculcate the habit of offline reading in us, because reading in print is quite different - pleasing, and absorbing.
Manzoor Akash teaches English, hails from zone Dangiwacha, Rafiabad.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.