As a writer, it is indeed difficult to pull in readers, especially these days, when the youngsters love binging on videos, more than anything else. On top of that, with high data speed and live streaming so easily available, people don’t want to come out of the maze they have got themselves into. They rise, work and sleep in that same mess every day. I am talking about Netflix, Amazon Prime and all other such live streaming options which are available these days.
I don’t know whether it is the generation gap or the technology gap, but trust me, you would surely reflect on your habit of video watching after you would have finished reading this post.
I am sure you must have read somewhere or heard sometime in your life that reading is better than watching videos but do you know the reason, why?
I am going to share those why’s today.
But before I do that, let me tell you what science has to say about this.
A few years back in a University in Japan a study was conducted on the effects of television on the brains of children, along with the time spent in watching TV and its long term effects.
The study says that more the children watched TV, parts of their brain associated with higher arousal and aggression levels become thicker. It makes the frontal lobe thicker leading to lower verbal reasoning ability.
In the same year, another study in one of the Universities in the U.S was conducted. It was on how reading a novel can affect the human brain. This was conducted on college students. After reading the novel, the study revealed that their parts of the brains related to language showed increased connectivity. Not only this, the long term effects of reading is, that it keeps your mind alert and delays cognitive decline in elders.
As a researched fact reading can reduce stress levels by 70 percent if you just read for six minutes, according to a research conducted at the University of Sussex. Reading even beats out other relaxing activities like listening to music (61 percent), drinking tea or coffee (54 percent) and taking a walk (42 percent).
Reading is active while watching TV or videos is passive. Every time you read a sentence in a novel, you try to interpret its meaning; even if it requires you to be super quick you do it. You read a description of a character in a novel and you start visualizing that character in your mind. You read a scene and start imagining the scene as if you are living it.
Watching videos takes away all that imagination from you. It shows what it wants to show it to you and you get forced to see what is being shown to you, curbing your imagination and reasoning in a big way.
When people around me tell me that they don’t read much these days, I get disheartened not because I am losing a prospect reader but because people are losing on something that is an ageless entertainment. They are simply replacing it with mindless binging of videos, especially the countless YouTube and Tiktok videos, most of them being, those that do no good to them.
Reading a novel might take a week to finish but you get engaged in it for a longer duration than any video. For the entire week, even when you are not reading, your mind will roam back to the novel many times. But in case of videos, you would think about it only for a short time that would follow after the actual show time, and not beyond that. This means that with reading, you develop a great amount of focus and concentration whereas with watching TV or videos you will only reduce your attention span and focus.
Reading will let you be free and help you relax because you will stretch your mind to imagine, only to the limit you want to but that’s not the case while watching a video. Watching a video will excite you, thrill you or scare the shit out of you because it would be a strong dose of power-packed entertainment. You would simply remain a viewer, reacting to it from the outside whereas when you are reading, you are actively engaging your mind by visualizing the story. You become the illustrator of the words you are reading and start creating the images with those words.
Reading helps in improving your vocabulary much more than watching videos. You have to make sure you choose the right kind of literature. You can refer back to the content without much hassle. Videos or TV typically use short and simple sentences. Good children’s books contain language twice as complex as a TV show, which means good variety in the vocabulary. With novels, the advantages of enriching the language become much more.
Watching mindless daily soaps on TV or the destructive and crime-related shows as web-series these days can only reduce IQ and not increase it. On the other hand, research proves that reading novels creates heightened connectivity in the brain for up to five days after reading.
Reading can make children more intelligent, interactive, empathetic, interesting and attractive whereas watching shows on the idiot box or the zombie turning device, the mobile phones, can only turn children into morons. Reading a story to your children or grandchildren aloud is a highly interactive process, helpful for the development of young children.
So what do you say, aren’t these reasons not enough for you to cultivate the habit of reading in your children or grandchildren?
If yes, please do so because, for the ghastly world that is shaping up, we need a generation that is intelligent, attractive, empathetic, interesting and convincing. One of the ways is by inculcating the habit of avid reading in them.