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June 22, 2022

Considering the increasing number of internet-based technologies, it appears the internet is one invention that will never be old-fashioned. Yet, the Internet continues to impact how we do many other things, including reading and research. Hence, this article focuses on the impact of the internet on our reading culture, research and conventional libraries.

How Is the Internet Affecting Reading Culture?

1. The internet and libraries
Of all inventions, the Internet has, arguably, made the greatest marks on traditional libraries. With the speed at which information can be gotten from the Internet, traditional libraries are continuously challenged to prove their continued relevance by introducing innovations and adopting internet-based techniques that hasten the acquisition, cataloging, circulation and sharing of library resources.

The Internet has removed the distance barrier, enabling library users to access e-journals, e-books, magazines, news articles, encyclopaedias, expert reports and online databases from different parts of the world.

2. Online reading vs prints
Because of the ease with which readers can have access to multiple resources on the internet, several studies indicate that there is a considerable decline in print reading.

Of course, that also implies a reduction in the number of people using traditional libraries and an increase in the use of digital libraries. One study finds that 83.9% of students read online information daily while only 31.4% and 33.1% of them read newspapers and magazines respectively. Digital research has equally led to increased use of primary sources.

Although many believe reading online exposes readers to distractions, a study found that students who were asked to read and research online were more motivated than their counterparts using traditional media.

3. Appetite for short articles
Exposure to digital reading is said to have a negative impact on reading skills. Readers of online texts are not comfortable with lengthy texts and articles. Having gotten used to short direct messages, emails, posts and comments, they are often in haste and skim over write-ups, only searching for keywords.

Media houses have also adapted to the trend, as most online articles are made as brief as possible. The consequence is poor comprehension skills.

4. General decline in book reading
It is erroneous to assume that people read more because the Internet has made information and resources more available and accessible. Instead, the reverse is the case. There is a general decrease in interest to read. The older generation had more of those who read for fun than the younger generation.

5. Loss of concentration
A common negative impact of the Internet on our reading culture is how it affects learners’ ability to concentrate. The creation of multifarious internet-based applications, especially social media, shortens learners’ attention spans.

Readers who turn their internet on while reading are often distracted by notifications about messages, comments, advertorials, online jobs, mentions, likes and posts. On many occasions, those who had their internet turned off also go online to reply to chats and comments.

Surprisingly, researchers at Coventry University found that texting can improve reading and spelling acumen.

The internet is a major driver of change in many aspects of societal life. As shown above, our reading culture is one of the most affected.

While we may not be able to punctuate this change, we can significantly minimize its negative impact with self-discipline and good time management skills.

Source: MSBM Research 
Image Source: Pixabay