Wired path – Short Take – GULF TODAY – Dt. 29.01.11

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Short Take – GULF TODAY – Dt. 29.01.11 – Wired path

My office is located in a busy shopping mall at the heart of the city. It gives me an opportunity to see different types of visitors to the mall.

Coming from various nations and places, they come along directly and indirectly with their culture and civilisation. It is an interesting subject to observe and study their interaction, especially when they come as a family.

Olden days, when we get to see a family going on holiday, the children mostly have story books with them. We could notice them reading along while the elders kept themselves busy shopping around. However, I realised, these days, children just do not have access to sufficient books other than those prescribed in their syllabus – which are generally not stimulating enough.

In addition, people have a different perception these days. Some people are opposed to the benefits of reading. A section of them want children to be a role model and may not allow them to read comics. Some are afraid of allowing their children to read novels because they think the characters will prompt children to fall in love.

Some other section of parents may want children to prepare for entrance examinations – MBBS and engineering etc rather than read novels or story books. Gone are the days when children enjoyed a read aloud story section with the elders in the family.

Now, looking at a family on a holiday, I get to see one child with a BlackBerry, the other with an Ipod, and one other with a tablet or notepad, engaged within their own world and connections. Interactions are reduced to a level of single words, nods and headshakes.

Are we as a society doing much harm by not encouraging our children to read more and read out more to our little ones?

Ramesh Menon

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