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Are E-Books BAD For Your Children?

A different take on e-books

There’s a whole school of debate about e-books and whether your kids should be reading them. And a lot of this buzz is science claiming how e-books are bad for your children, or, at the very least, not as good as printed books.

Studies claiming that e-book readers are exposed to more distractions than print book readers and so are less connected to the stories; others claim they affect sleep, development, and so on. Stories of parents – working in tech firms! – disallowing their children to read e-books. Zombified children’s faces lit by an iPad screen against an eerily dark backdrop. 

We probably all remember the satisfying feeling of the pile of pages growing on the left and shrinking on the right as you progress through a story page by page. Some think it’s difficult navigating the modern, technology-driven world – the one that e-books are a part of – and are advocates of committing to the classic printed book for a purportedly “fuller”, “healthier” experience. 

But perhaps we forget that said “modern, technology-driven world” are what the kids of today grew up with – technology and the real world are intricately intertwined and complementary, rather than how we see it, separate. 

Sure, even children born in the digital age can grow up appreciating the smell and feel of the printed book. 

But if they prefer e-books, “so be it”, says Brian Caswell, dean of Research and Program Development at Mindchamps

And he has 15 grandchildren, so he should know. 

Research shows that majority of children actually prefer reading on a tablet to reading a traditional book. “The key to nurturing enthusiastic lifelong readers is to make the experience fun and rewarding,” and if this means turning to e-books, why cling on to our own nostalgia of printed books and impose them on our kids? 

E-books can be a major asset for parents when it comes to educating our kids and getting them into the habit of reading. Is your kid easily distracted? Help them download well-designed e-books with minimal distractions and hyperlinks. Afraid it’ll affect their eyesight? Teach them good reading habits that extend even to reading printed books. 

Accept this gift from technology with an open mind and make good use of it – when used right, e-books aren’t bad!


By Pinky Chng, July 2016


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