Ajit Panicker


Reading vs Watching Videos : Effect on Youth

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. And with high data speed and live streaming so easily available, people are not able to come out of this strange maze. They rise, work and sleep in that same mess every day. I am talking about Netflix, Amazon Prime, and all such live streaming options that are available these days.

I don’t know if it is the generation gap or the technology gap, but after reading this post you would surely reflect on your habit of video watching.

It is always better to engage in reading than watch videos.

Don’t you know this?

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 got 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 watching TV and its long-term effects.

The study says that the more the children watched TV, the more 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 the parts of the brain related to language showed increased connectivity. Not only this, the long-term effects of reading are, that it keeps your mind alert and delays cognitive decline in elders.

Research says that reading can reduce stress levels by 70 percent if you just read for six minutes. (according to 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 that requires you to be super quick, you do it. The moment you read a character\’s description in a novel you start visualizing the character. 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 to you. 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. It is not because I am losing a prospect reader but because people are losing on something that has been an ageless entertainment. They are simply replacing it with mindless binging of videos, especially the countless YouTube and Tiktok videos that are easily available. We don\’t realize but most of them do no good to them.

Reading will keep your mind engaged and improve focus and concentration

If you take up a novel to read it might take a week to finish but that would keep you engaged for a longer duration than any video. For the week that would follow, your mind would often transport back to the novel many times. But in the case of videos, you would think about it for a few moments soon 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 only reduce your attention span and focus.

Reading helps you relax your mind

Reading will help you relax because you will stretch your mind to imagine, only to the limit you want to. But that’s not the case with 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 tend to become the illustrator of the words that you are reading, creating the images with those words in the process.

Reading helps in improving your vocabulary

Whereas watching videos would not help you much. 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 web series 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 now?

Aren’t these reasons 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.

Happy Reading !!

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