Ever since the phrase ‘digital native’ was coined to describe this generation, parents have worried about the amount of time their children spend on gadgets, and rightly so.
It is important to get our children off their devices and get them to read instead, especially in Singapore where device use is so common.
Why is this so?
Screen addiction causes children to become easily distracted
Children who are addicted to devices have difficulty focusing and concentrating.
Firstly, they are used to switching constantly between apps and responding to whichever app demands their attention at that moment. Secondly, screen addicts can even suffer from anxiety. They crave the hit of dopamine that their brain gets from having online friends respond to their pictures and posts. They feel uneasy if they do not get to check their phones constantly.
For children who already find it difficult to pay attention, the immediate rewards of playing a game can easily outweigh the longer-term benefits of reading. This is especially clear in toddlers who have little self-control and resistance.
The desire to be over-connected can severely disrupt children’s focus. They are unable to stay attentive at times when they need to concentrate because their minds have been wired to respond to their devices.
Reading books helps children to communicate better
Studies show that after reading a novel, children had increased connectivity in the parts of their brains that deal with language. In contrast, after watching a television show, children received lower scores on a verbal test than before the show. Another study showed that parents are far more likely to interact with their children with insightful questions and explanations when reading together as opposed to watching a TV show together.
Unlike reading a book, watching TV is passive, and people are less likely to reflect and think about what they have seen. Furthermore, studies also demonstrate that people who read from a hard copy book are much more likely to remember what they have read and are more likely to connect emotionally with the text. Hence, it is crucial that our children learn the skills to read a piece thoroughly for a full understanding of the piece, instead of skimming through as they do on devices.
This proves that reading can have a huge impact on your children’s learning abilities by growing their knowledge bank and their imaginations. Not only that, but reading can help you connect deeply with your child through shared quality time.
Grow your children’s propensity for reading with structured reading programmes for kids
Reading programmes for kids and enrichment classes can help to lend structure to your children’s reading routines by setting them a good foundation. Getting your children in the habit of reading frequently and helping them grow a love of reading is crucial to success. An effective enrichment class not only encourages children to take initiative in their own reading progress but also drives interaction and discussion to ensure that they fully comprehend what they read.
Children need to be exposed to high-quality literature, which should be introduced to them in an enjoyable and developmentally appropriate way. A good reading programme for kids such as the MindChamps Reading Programme helps to foster closer bonds between parent and child, with a special ReadAlong app that allows parents to read the same books with their children at home.
Raising a digital native may be a challenge, but equipping your children with the necessary skills to make reading an integral part of their lives does not have to be.
Written by JoBeth Williams