Wednesday, June 28, 2006

From Web2.0 Workshop: Video Games vs. Reading

I'm in the Web2.0 workshop, conducted by Beth Galloway, at the MLSC today. And it's very interesting to witness the debate among librarians about the next generation - GenY/Millennials - and their use of new technologies (and why we should care). She referred us to the book Everything Bad is Good for You, by Steven Johnson. So I took a quick look (thru Amazon, sadly, of course, because it's just easier than finding this same info on a lib catalog) at an excerpt from this book. He has a good point when - on p. 19 - he talks about all of the negatives we attribute to video game playing vs. reading and how, if the roles were reversed (i.e., if the video games had been around for hundreds [his choice of wording, I would say thousands, having worked on a Bronze Age dig in Greece where tablets of Linear B were found] of years and reading was new) we might write up studies evaluating that reading is negative. I almost laughed aloud when I read:

"Reading chronically understimulates the senses... Books are also tragically isolating..."

My grandmother-in-law, who's 97, recalls when her parents got mad at her for wasting too much time reading, when she could be spending her time doing more useful and productive things (like sewing). Sound familiar?

No comments: