The Huffington Post asks what will happen when the current generation of “hybrid readers”, ie, those who were raised on books but are digiliterate (ie, us), dies out.
But what happens when we die out? Will the young’uns feel as we do about books? I’d like to think so, but I guess in twenty years or so, what I think won’t make a shred of difference, not to the young’uns, or the text they are reading.
I was thinking about this recently in relation to my boys. They’ve never known a world without computers and video games and TV. But they’re also buried in books. Will there be enough kids like them to keep books alive? Will this early education in books (and holding off on the tv and internet) pay off for them as adults or hobble them? Certainly in our little urban literary/academic biosphere of a social circle it will be an advantage, but what about the larger world? My son (almost six) has started drawing detailed replicas of Nintendo machines and controllers, and he walks around the house “playing” them and telling me about the game levels he’s created. I can’t hold back the flood waters much longer. I told him that when I was a kid we loved books because “stories” are better than “levels” and that if he could come up with some video games based on real narratives, I’d think about helping him design some levels for it, and all he said was, “So your parents wouldn’t let you buy a DS either?” (Also, when recently investigating how religious our elementary school’s curriculum is, I asked my eldest what he knew about “Jesus”, he said, “Jeezes? What are they?” I had a pang of Proddy guilt like you never felt, let me tell you.) Anyway, it doesn’t seem like it’s a winning battle. My kid will be literate and well-read if it kills us both. But will his peers? Will their kids?