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  • Writer's pictureDeanne Macdonald

Why Spend Your Time with Your Nose in a Book?

In our current society, children spend hours every day with their attention fixed on their phones or their computers. I looked it up, and the first article I saw said that children spend an average of 6.5 hours on screens every day.

Not only is this bad for their eyes and their necks, and their backs, it also isn't great for their imaginations. Having grown up without screen time, I spent some of my time on reading and as you can see from the fact that I wrote a book, I have a very healthy imagination.

Now, one could make the argument that watching a movie is the same as reading a book, and reading really isn't better than watching. Well, I am afraid that I have to disagree. Completely aside from the damage that you do to your eyes with excessive exposure to screens (which can include increased risk of macular degeneration, trouble sleeping, damage to your retina and more) excessive consumption of canned entertainment can curtail the natural imagination of children.

When you read, you have to take the words on the page and create the images in your mind. It's a skill and something that actually exercises your imagination.

In my opinion imagination is one of the most important faculties a human being has. After all, without imagination you can get into all sorts of trouble. Let me illustrate (using my imagination).

Let's take Mary and Ann. Mary's imagination is lacking as she hasn't ever read an entire book in her life, while Ann's is developed through a childhood spent reading.

They're out and about one day and they see an interesting box that has light coming out of it. Mary's first inclination might be to just stick her hand in the box, which might have no real consequences, but on the other hand it might. Ann's imagination runs wild. What if the box contains a wild animal, a fairy, nuclear waste, a magic wand, a flashlight, a portal to another world? Well, whatever it is, Ann's imagination causes her to show a little bit of caution when opening the box and disaster might be averted. You'll just have to use your own imagination to decide what was in the box.

I know that was a stretch, but let's take it closer to home. The two girls hit their teen years, and one of their peers tries to get them to do drugs. Mary's lack of imagination doesn't enable her to weigh the consequences of her actions as it never even crosses her mind. This might lead her down a wrong path. Ann's imagination on the other hand, enables her to think of all the different scenarios that might occur if she does the drugs. Now, she might still do them, but she might not, because you have to have imagination to foresee consequences.

Imagination is a part of everyday life. Thinking ahead of possible scenarios is what helps us live better and make better decisions. And if you look up the benefits of reading, you will find that reading fiction can make you a better decision-maker. It also makes you kinder. Imagine that!

So, if you don't read already, get into the habit. If you do read, keep it up. You're not wasting time, you're doing something that is very good for you.

And since you're reading anyway, how about reading my book. I wrote My Grandmother's Dragon for readers of all ages. It has some words you might have to look up, but thankfully for you, I included a glossary for you and your children. Just go to the home page of my website and you can read a sample and order the book.

Happy Reading!

DD McDee

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