Are ebooks good for kids?


By Rebecca Bowyer

Are books dangerous for your health?

Son #1 dropped a bookcase on his foot a few years ago while he was ‘trying to clean it’. Fortunately, it was a small bookcase. No broken bones.

Son #2 managed to pull the exact same bookcase over on himself a couple of weeks later. Clearly, we either need to invest in sturdier furniture (Mum’s suggestion) or go digital (a great excuse to buy a new iPad methinks).

Are ebooks any better for your health? (Or are we just a clumsy family?)

I’m already an ebook convert. When lying in bed and reading late at night it hurts less to drop a Kobo on your face rather than a hardcover as you start to nod off mid-paragraph. (Go on, tell me you’ve never done it yourself).

But for kids? Shouldn’t they be introduced to the feel of the book? That wonderful smell of the paper, the two-dimensional shape of the words and pictures and the bracing sound as the paper rips when your toddler yanks the page too quickly…

Son #2 is utterly obsessed with books and treats them like soft toys, taking several with him to bed each night. Once he’s sound asleep I creep into his bedroom and remove the weighty tomes for fear he’ll skewer himself on the corner of Oi Frog! at some point during the night.

Let’s ask an expert on ebooks for kids

I decided to look into the ebook vs real book issue a bit further. Fortunately they let you do PhDs on pretty much anything these days, and Natalia Kurcirkova has done one in the area of ‘parent-child shared book reading’, so I thought I’d check out what she has to say on the subject.

It didn’t help much. Natalia Kurcirkova is quite happily sitting on the fence: “It is not a question of book or e-book for children. The two can complement each other… Children can fluidly negotiate digital and non-digital media, carrying their favourite story characters from one to another.”

Fair point. Olaf is just as funny in pictures on an iPad as he is on a poster on the wall. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, go and get yourself a copy of Frozen NOW or we can no longer be friends.

Rebecca Bowyer lives in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne with her long-suffering husband and two young sons, who are both quite delightful, especially when they are smiling or sleeping.

For more funny little stories about raising the little people in your life, visit: F: Rebecca Boywer


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