A Word In Your Ear - March 29, 2018

Roy Edmonds
Roy Edmonds
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If you’re reading all this, well done! Today not many, I’m told, have the attention span for newspapers. Instead, they get news ‘bites’ through social media on smart phones and tablets.

Unfortunately, such titbits are often wrong, sometimes deliberately. Fake news is a growing problem and, besides, a short ‘bite’ can only tell part of the story.

I was also amazed, when working in a newspaper office, how few young people read books.

We’re all familiar, too, with the sad spectacle of couples entering restaurants then each talking to someone else on mobile phones. Even babes in high chairs scroll through online pages with electronic games. It keeps them quiet, but what about engaging with the real world?

Similarly, families at meals – a precious time to share – are often occupied with electronic gadgets while picking absently through food with a fork.

At a recent classical concert I was stunned to see an orchestra percussionist slide a phone from behind her music sheets, then reply to a text. She did it twice, while still drumming, and didn’t miss a beat!

Don’t get me wrong. I’m writing this at home on a laptop and will email it in. How much easier than typewriters and phoning in stories to ‘copy-takers’. Mobile phones are great for personal safety, and keeping in touch wherever we may be. The electronic age brings easier lifestyles and communication. However, as always with progress, it comes at a price.

We shouldn’t lose sight of human aspects of life, which are essential to our happiness. There may be someone at the end of that text, media message or email, but it’s that person who matters, not the gadget itself.

Still, I’m told more young people are now reading books – thanks to literature on Kindles. You can even read me online!

* For Roy’s books, visit www.royedmonds-blackpool.com.