1. Plugged in
What did you do as a teen? What did your parents do as teens? In a world that advances by the second, that changes every minute of the day and that lives are lived at a pace twice as fast as ten years ago, are we as people meant to stay the same? Today I was on the train from London everyone there seemed to be busy on phones iPods and tablets. Even I had my piece of technology. I was on my iPod, but the real question you should be asking is not what did I have in my hand? Instead it should be what was I doing on the train? I was reading.
I am in my late teens and I am dyslexic. When I was 10 years old I could only read the simplest of books. I hated the books we did in class they were all so boring but I loved the books my mum read to me. I soon figured out if I could read well enough I could read whatever I liked. Aged 12 I had the reading age of a 16 year old and had read almost the whole of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy. Now I have a library of over 400 books on my iPod and I am looking forward to a time when I have the money to get some new ones. However this is only a small percentage of books that I have read. I read for an average of fourteen hours a week and on top of that I write (work that I hope to publish) for about seven hours a week. I have only been publishing work on movellas since late august after I emailed a well-established author asking for advice on how to get my work published. I have 15 movellas on the site (not all of which I have officially published). With a total of 3885 views and 73 comments (at the time I wrote this article). My most popular movella ‘nightmares’ has had 1961 views and positive feedback. So compare this with amount of time I spend playing on video games and watching T.V, a maximum of nine hours a week, almost a third of the time I spend reading and writing.
So am I the exception to the rule? No, ok maybe I read more than most of my friends but all my friends read. In fact they love reading we regularly discuss books recommend and give advice on books we have read recently. Almost every day we have a book at school or some form of magazine so that if we run out of homework to do on our free lessons we can read. They are definitely not embarrassed to read in front of our whole year group and they regularly do. In fact currently the most played game amongst the ‘popular’ kids is the dictionary game and they play this in school in front of everyone. The dictionary game involves choosing a word from the dictionary writing it on a piece of paper and everyone else trying to guess what it means. Does that sound like a generation that doesn’t like to read or write? No it doesn’t. The truth is every teenager reads and there is no stigma attached to reading in public.
You are probably wondering why you never see anyone with a good old paperback if us teens read as much as I am saying? As technology moves on, the pace of life picks up and convenience becomes the name of the game, e-books become the obvious answer to all our needs. We no longer have to go out shopping to buy a new book and we don’t have to carry these extra books with us every time we might get a chance to read. We sit at home choose our favourite option from hundreds on hundreds of books, we download it to our phone, iPod or tablet and we have it with us whenever we want. This also tends to cost less than buying a paperback.
So where has this stereotype come from? The National Literacy Trust survey in 2011 asked children aged 8-16 about their reading habits. The results looked rather dire with only 50% actually enjoying reading. But let’s take a look where the schools who participated are and the number of participants. There were only 21,000 participants in this survey this is a very small percentage of youth today so how can it give a fair representation of all the youth? Secondly it only goes up to sixteen surely if you are talking youth you will at least do all the ages in education? Thirdly while there are a large number of schools it doesn’t specify where these schools are, if they are in groups then each group is likely to give a similar answer as the society they grow up in will be very similar. It also could be that a large percentage of the schools are in less affluent areas of society and are less likely to read. So is it really fair to look at that survey and instantly assume that every teen on the planet is like that?
In conclusion are teenagers a generation of T.V obsessed, video gaming illiterates. Maybe not as much as it seems, maybe we are just bringing reading into the twenty-first century bringing it up to speed with the rest of the world. Surely sites like movellas prove that reading and writing still has its place in teen’s lives today.