The digital age is shrinking our attention spans, Google is making us stupid, and we no longer read, at least not anything of substance. We’ve all heard the warnings. But, says Sydney academic and novelist Debra Adelaide, the situation may not be that bad.
The proceeds from Adelaide’s latest book, an anthology entitled The Simple Act of Reading, will go towards a children’s reading initiative called the Sydney Story Factory.
And she says the idea that people are losing the skill of reading because of short attention spans and social media multitasking is a “bit of a myth”.
“Just this morning on the train, I was standing in a very packed carriage, and I actually was a bit frustrated because I couldn’t read my real book, but there were lots of people reading texts on their iPhones,” she said.
“It seems to me that people are reading constantly, it’s just that they’re reading different things, and sometimes we’re not sure what they are reading because electronic devices are now anonymous – you can’t see the cover and you don’t know what they’re reading.
“But it’s clear that people are still reading a great deal.” “I think there is some concern that… this young generation of readers is not able to read long-form fiction,” she said. “But as soon as you say that, you realise that there’s a huge number of people around the world who have read all the Game of Thrones novels, and they are very long.” “When young children are encouraged to read, because their brains are much more plastic, their response is so much quicker and their development is so much more important,” she said.
“If you read fiction, and particularly literary fiction, you develop more empathy and there’s quite a distinct difference in brain function.” Via abc.net.au