Should You Buy An Electronic Reader For Your Child?

Have you considered buying an electronic reader for your child? Do you think that it will motivate him to read more? Read on to decide whether you should make the investment.

By Ashwin Lobo

Should You Buy An Electronic Reader For Your Child?

Few things are more pleasurable than sitting back on a lazy afternoon and reading an interesting novel. As you turn the pages, you learn about the characters, the plot thickens and before you know it—the book becomes impossible to put down. But suddenly, just as you’re getting to the most exciting part, the words disappear. With a hint of disappointment you realise that your electronic reader has run out of charge.

An electronic reader is a device which is designed specifically for reading digital books and other content. Electronic readers are becoming increasingly popular these days as more and more people forsake the printed page for it’s digital version.

The popularity of e-books and electronic readers is understandable for they offer multiple benefits over their printed counterparts. 

Some of the benefits of e-books are:

  • E-books are generally less expensive than printed books
  • Storage space is saved as multiple e-books can be downloaded onto a small e-reader
  • The small size of an e-reader also makes it easy to read books while travelling
  • Traditional books use a lot of paper, so e-books are better for the environment
  • E-readers offer a range of useful features like inbuilt dictionaries and highlighting options

Printed books also have their advantages

While the traditional book has come under threat from the electronic reader, it still holds it’s own in some areas. For instance, printed books have no batteries, so you don’t have to worry about them running out of charge. Traditional books also have a resale value while e-books do not. Added to that, an e-reader requires a relatively large initial investment whereas a traditional book can be bought for a few hundred rupees or borrowed from a library.

Making the decision to buy an electronic reader

Keeping all of these factors in mind, make an informed decision on whether you should buy your child an electronic reader or not. A key factor for your consideration should be the increasing use of technology in education. Nowadays, several textbooks are available in the digital format. Many of the additional readings that teachers assigned to students may also be in the electronic format. If your child’s school allows and encourages e-books, then you should seriously consider getting him an e-reader. Having all of his learning resources on an e-reader will save your child the trouble of carrying a heavy bag laden with thick textbooks.

Additionally, some children may simply be more comfortable reading on an electronic device. Children of this generation have been exposed to technology from a young age so it is natural that they may prefer an e-reader to a traditional book. Remember, your main objective should be to get your child to read as much as possible, so if he’s more comfortable with an electronic reader then it might be a good idea to get him one.

Some children may have an aversion towards books in general. They may feel also self-conscious about reading a printed book, fearing that their friends may label them as ‘nerds’. In such cases, e-readers are definitely more appealing and can motivate a reluctant reader to discover the joy of the written word. If your child does not understand the meaning of a particular word, he can always use the inbuilt dictionary on the e-reader to instantaneously find out it’s definition.

However, a major concern that many parents have with electronic readers is the screen time that using them entails. What with watching television, playing video games and using the internet, parents may feel that their children are already spending too much time in front of screens. Encouraging them to use an e-reader will only add to this amount. With too much screen time children get insufficient sensory stimulation, their social skills weaken, they are more prone to attention problems and have increased risks of weight-gain and sleep-deprivation. E-readers do have backlit screens, which means that they are less harmful than other devices. But nevertheless, it is best to use them with moderation. If you do decide to get your child an e-reader, advise him to take a break from it every half an hour or so to minimise the strain on his eyes.

It’s important to consider both the pros and cons before you decide to purchase an e-reader for your child. Even if you decide to, encourage your child to read traditional books as well. You can strike a balance by allowing your child to use the e-reader while travelling and encouraging her to read a printed book while at home. Remember, all reading is good reading so use both the digital and print mediums to get your child to read as much as possible. 

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