Engrossed in E-readers - AmericaNowNews.com

Are E-readers increasing reading rates?

Almost everyone seems to be carrying an iPad, tablet or Kindle these days.

It's been one of the hottest gadgets up for grabs.  People are getting it for themselves, even for their children.

Studies done on the use of E-readers actually show more people are reading, with this technology.

The typical E-reader read 24 books in the past year, compared to a traditional book lover who read 15.

Many parents think getting their child one is good, if it will encourage them to read more.

There are many videos on the Internet that show babies playing with iPads and other high-tech tablets, before they even learn how to walk.

They're tech-savvy toddlers, but put a good old fashioned magazine in front of them and the videos show the babies look confused, trying to push and swipe at the pages, not quite sure what to do with them.

We showed the video clips to Dr. John Leipsic, the Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Arizona, and he was amazed.

"I think it's remarkable, kids that young are taking to technology this easily."

But are they skills that come with a side effect?

Dr. Leipsic said technology needs to be monitored. 

"Kids are going to get distracted," said Dr. Leipsic.

Distracted because in the middle of reading, a child's mind might wander off to a game they could play, not to mention Facebook, instant chat, or even text messaging, if your E-Reader is installed on a smart phone. 

Not so good for concentration.

"I think with technology in general, it fosters a shorter attention span in kids," said Leipsic.

Also, not so good for your eyes. 

"We're seeing an increase in near-sightedness in kids," said Leipsic.

In the Dasse home, they use it all.

Books are a way to bond.  You'll see them reading on smart phones, E-readers, and traditional books as well.

8-year old Violet Dasse said she loved to read both books and kindles, but when we asked her which one was more fun, she instantly replied, "A Kindle."

Mom, Judy Dasse, admitted reading on high-tech devices was an incentive.

"When there's times they don't want to read, I'll say look I got a book on the Kindle, Violet will jump in and want to read it herself," said Dasse. 

Other moms however, were choosing to follow a more traditional route.

April Turner said she might consider getting her child an E-Reader once they were in their teens. 

"I think that we're bombarded by glowing screens everywhere.  I think that our eyes and brains, just really need a break," said Turner.

 Mom, Rita Olsen agreed.

"I think its too young for that. Computers and buttons will come," said Olsen. 

Every kid loves story time.  We asked a group of children in an elementary school reading class how many of them had read books on an E-Reader.  Almost half of them raised their hands.

Staff at the early literacy program "Make Way for Books" encouraged parents to read to their children.

Whether it was a traditional book or a high tech one, staff said bonding with your child while reading them a story will foster a love of reading.

Assistant Director Jenny Volpe said they were considering adding an I-Pad to their large collection of children's books as well, to give parents another option.

Audrey Cione, a volunteer with Make Way for Books agreed, but said she still preferred old fashioned books, when it came to her own children. 

We are moving into a more technological age, but I want them to appreciate reading a book, turning the pages, that's how I did it," said Cione.

Cione also worried that the fancy high-tech screens could hurt her child's development. 

"They need to be able to turn the pages," said Cione.

La Frontera psychologist Dr. Mayday Levine-Mata said Cione had a good point. 

"A lot of developmental progress is measured by the child's ability to turn a page," said Levine-Mata.

She added that parents need to supervise their children's use of technology, and make sure they were getting a good balance of both books, and E-Readers.

Children who liked E-Readers said they liked the fact that they could highlight a word, and it would give them a definition instantly.

Those who preferred books said they liked the pop-ups and colorful pictures found in children's books.

Experts also worried that the use of too much technology could lead to more cases of Attention Deficit Disorder.

It's not just children, I think society in general is becoming more impatient and ADHD," said Levine-Mata.

Leipsic said technology was leading us into an age of instant gratification.  You push a button and you expect something to happen instantly.  When it took too long, or the application didn't work, it led to frustration and impatience.

Levine-Mata said parents need to watch how they behave around their children, because if they act impatient and frustrated, their children will expect instant gratification as well.

Just like anything else experts said balance was key.

You cant hide from technology, but whether it's reading a book or a tablet supervision was important, not to mention bonding with your child when you read to them.

Experts recommend no more than two hours of screen time for your child per day, that includes all technology, from TV to tablets and video games.

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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