Technologyhas had its significant effects to society and it is slowly changing how people live nowadays. There is no doubt that it has made lives easier, at times simpler, but this does not mean that it always has positive outcomes. One of the examples that technology has bring about negative effects to society is how it is affecting literacy and how people appreciate reading in the traditional sense.
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Author Christine Rosen, in her work entitled “ People of the Screen,” indicates that technology has now allowed people to replace books with electronic readers and the Internet so much so that traditional printed books might become a thing of the past. The thought of digital literacy replacing print literacy is alarming because it means depending too much on technology when the need to replace it is not that significant. While technology is definitely making people more capable, there is a question whether it does make them smarter.
Screen reading is definitely different from traditional reading even though some people may agree to this. “ By contrast, screen reading, a historically recent arrival, encourages a different kind of self-conception, one based on interaction and dependent on the feedback of others. It rewards participation and performance, not contemplation” (Rosen “ People of the Screen”). Screen reading, thus, makes people smarter regarding technology and the different skills it needs to work.
Screen reading requires people to look at monitors, push buttons, and scroll mouses over. It requires people to know how to navigate the devices, programs, or softwares to participate. “ Screen reading allows you to read in a “ strategic, targeted manner,” searching for particular pieces of information” (Rosen “ People of the Screen”). However, there is question if this type of reading really does stimulate their minds and instills in them what they have just read on the screen.
Screen reading is entirely different from the traditional reading because it allows the reader to imagine and let his or her mind work actively while reading. “ You enter the author’s world on his terms, and in so doing get away from yourself. Yes, you are powerless to change the narrative or the characters, but you become more open to the experiences of others and, importantly, open to the notion that you are not always in control” (Rosen “ People of the Screen”).
In addition, books enhance the readers’ reading experience because it is tangible and allows the readers to turn the pages, feel its thinness or thickness, and see for themselves how far along they are from finishing it. While books are bulky, there is a great feeling of seeing them stacked together, especially in libraries, and see first-hand how much a person has collected over the years of reading. People should decide whether they want to replace digital literacy with print literacy.
“ Literacy, the most empowering achievement of our civilization, is to be replaced by a vague and ill-defined screen savvy. The paper book, the tool that built modernity, is to be phased out in favor of fractured, unfixed information. All in the name of progress” (Rosen “ People of the Screen”). Digital literacy is important because of the significant role that technology is playing in people’s lives today but this does not mean that it is better than the traditional way. While it makes people adapt to the changing of times, it certainly does not make them smarter or more literate.