Is reading on a screen unhealthy? | The Tylt

Is reading on a screen unhealthy?

With every progression comes recession. The accessibility of information via technology has afforded society with a wealth of knowledge that’s only one URL away. However, the means by which said information is consumed—screens—is increasingly becoming a concern. Those in the scientific and civilian communities have pointed out that the transition from reading paper items to screens is negatively impacting our health. Others claim it’s a perfectly fine, natural advancement. Which is the truth?

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The shrinking attention span is not a passing phase. In his book, “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” author Nicholas Carr confesses his own inability to concentrate after switching primarily from books to the internet. As he tells NPR,

I’d sit down with a book, or a long article, and after a couple of pages my brain wanted to do what it does when I’m online: check e-mail, click on links, do some Googling, hop from page to page…the more time we spending surging, and skimming, and scanning…the more adept we become at that mode of thinking. 
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The shift from paper to screens has also significantly affected learning. USA Today explains that students who rely primarily on eBooks for their education fail to retain most information. British psychologist Kevin Dutton takes it one step further: In his book, “The Wisdom of Psychopaths: What Saints, Spies, and Serial Killers Can Teach Us About Success,” Dutton describes how reading a book actually carves new pathways in the human brain. These pathways allow for us to empathize with the situation we’re reading about; reading online takes this empathy away from us, and actually may cause us to be a bit more, well, unfeeling.  

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Reading screens too much can also make people feel poorly. Too much screen time can mess up a person’s sleep cycle and may even contribute to obesity; looking at your phone for too long may also increase feelings of anxiety and depression.  

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Despite people getting used to one form of technology eventually, it’s hard to imagine screen-based gadgets ever being healthier than books or other paper media. 

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Popular new technology is always touted as the end of days. From radio to television to iPods, older generations have proclaimed the ruination of youth due to one product or another. Yet society has moved on and flourished; it will do so despite the rise of onscreen reading.  

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There’s also plenty of benefits to digital reading where education is involved. The Gutenberg blog lists that on-screen educational programs not only open more room for collaboration, but allow for more creative learning opportunities. As the site points out:

Digital content allows teachers to add interactive learning elements to their arsenal of educational tools. Students can be assigned online activities and assessments that are far more engaging and motivational than an average reading assignment. 
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Additionally, onscreen reading devices are more environmentally friendly: they require no paper and actually provide you with more bang for your buck. Think of all the time you’ve hauled multiple books and papers from place to place; think of how much paper’s been expended creating all of them. Laptops, iPhones, and products such as Kindles have eliminated all that waste. 

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For avid readers, an e-reader can be heaven. They’re the future of reading, and we’re not sad to see (most) aspects of the old ways go. 

FINAL RESULTS
Culture
Is reading on a screen unhealthy?
#ReadingScreensBad
A festive crown for the winner
#ReadingScreensFine