I have a confession: Whenever anyone bemoans the effects of Kindles as “ruining” the experience of reading or quotes studies about how much poorer the reading experience is on one of these devices, I get super defensive.
In my head, I know that this means I’m probably a little unsure or uncomfortable about my own Kindle habit (because I don’t feel the need to defend choices when I’m confident in them), but I continue to do it.
Despite the bad press, I really truly love my Kindle. Five-and-a-half years ago, my first Kindle revolutionized my reading habit, which had suffered dreadfully in the wake of four babies in five years. When the Paperwhite came out a couple of years later with its front-lit light, I found myself reading even more (I’ve just never liked using a regular book light).
While I still love traditional books, I find that I have a harder time reading them at this point because I love the feel and convenience of my Kindle:
- I have a book with me at all times.
- I don’t have to worry about toddlers bending pages or losing my bookmark.
- I can read one-handed while nursing.
- It’s easy to switch between books when I’m reading a tougher nonfiction book or a story just isn’t capturing my attention.
- I can highlight on my Kindle liberally and access all of those notes.
But here’s the hypocritical part…I just can’t bring myself to pass down one of my older Kindles to my girls. I have both a second generation Kindle and a first generation Paperwhite that I’ve been saving for them, but I just can’t do it. I want them to fall in love with paper books—and I love children’s books in every shape and size—and since that’s working well for us so far, I don’t want to mess it up!
(Note: I have plenty of friends whose kids use Kindles for various reasons, and I think it’s great; this is about my own neurosis, not judgement toward them!)
My girls ask me on a regular basis when they’ll be able to use the Kindles, and it seems fair for them to wonder why I’m allowed to have mine glued to my side when they’re not even allowed to touch theirs, but my only answer is the classic cop out: Because I’m the mom.
Our Kindles don’t have games or social media or other distractions, so I can’t even use those as excuses; it’s just this feeling I have that once they use the Kindles, we’ll never get them back to paper books. (Oh, you know, like their mama.)
And so we continue to wait.
Do you use a Kindle? Do your kids? What pros and cons do you see for kids? For yourself?