Many changes have taken place in the comicbook world of late. The character of Thor from the Marvel Comics franchise has been turned into a woman. Also, while the iconic character of Archie was turned into “a martyr, taking a bullet for his gay pal”, there’s buzz that Krusty from The Simpsons is also going to be killed off. The characters of Captain America and Iron Man have also been given twists to generate more interest in a rather dying sphere of reading per se.
Generation TechFor a generation that is growing up hooked to their smartphones/tablets, these revivals hint at an effort to get them to read a bit (if not regular books/novels, then at least comics).
“Youngsters are so dependent on technology. I am not condemning that because it is useful, but a balance has to be maintained because kids are losing the ability to read. We at school, and parents at home have to put together strong workable strategies in order to inculcate reading habits in them,” says Atbha Sehgal, Principal, Sanskriti School, Delhi.
Sehgal has a strict ‘Reading Program’ running in her school. “Twice a month, we have that one hour, where everything in the school comes to a halt. Everyone, including myself, all the teachers and students just sit down and read something outside of the syllabus,” she says.
The effect of constant technological invasion on anyone’s mind affects attention, memory and concentration, but more so, children’s, whose minds are so malleable.
Get ReadingWhere do iconic comics like Chacha Chowdhary, Pinki and Billu, Tinkle and Nandan stand today — are they being revived in any way to get youngsters interested in reading a little again? “Well, yes, technology has impacted everyone’s reading habits, but quality content cannot be beaten easily. A lot of older memorable characters still exist, but Tinkle is the best example of an iconic comic that keeps updating itself,” says Jatin Varma, head, ComicCon, India.
However, not everyone has stood the test of time. A lot of publications have faded away, and it’s not just because of technology but also because of a failure to keep up with the changes in society and the maturing audience.
Campfire Graphic Novels has a slew of its titles added to the NCERT syllabus, reinforcing the fact that comics make for a great way to introducing young minds to literature and developing strong reading habits.
Parents Step InSushmita Clays, mother to a 12-year-old Pico Clays, says, “I think early engagement in a variety of reading, art and physical activities makes it a go-to habit, especially if done in tandem with as delayed an introduction to tech.”
Urmi Roy Magoon, mother to a young Zara Magoon, says, “When Zara was a year old, we realised she had already become addicted to TV, so we switched it off from her life. But we certainly don’t want her to grow up not being aware of anything — so on weekends with a lot of conditions, she gets to watch some YouTube.”
Technology is always going to be around youngsters, they have all their life to explore that aspect. But everything in moderation seems like the only way out for young minds to grow in attention and concentration, and enhance imaginative and creative abilities.