I shall read them books!

I watched a fascinating presentation at work today on Millennial moms — also known as Gen Y (or the generation born after Gen X). Dates are conflicting as to what decade you must be born in to qualify for this demographic category, though Wikipedia says:

“There are no precise dates for when the Millennial generation starts and ends, and commentators have used birth dates ranging somewhere from the mid-1970s to the late 1980s, early or mid 1990s, or as late as the early 2000s.”

Although the specific dates aren’t nailed down, specific behaviors are. And there were plenty shared today:

- 51% of moms say they are “addicted” to their smartphone. 1

– Half of “BabyCenter.com-surveyed” moms sent text messages or updated their status on social sites during labor. 2

– 76 percent of women announced their baby’s birth by phone, 72 percent sent text messages, 72 percent posted updates on social networking sites, and 44 percent sent email announcements. 2

– More small children can play a computer game than ride a bike. 3

– More kids aged 2-5 can play with a smartphone application (19 percent) than tie his or her shoelaces (9 percent). 3

The stats weren’t overly surprising — we see these things all around us. But what was surprising was my reaction to this video:

It’s just Alice in Wonderland for the iPad with flashy animation and interesting graphics. But after watching how it works — in tandem with the onslaught of digitally powered statistics — I felt a surge of motivation.

I’ve written about it before: I remember the way my Alice in Wonderland book smelled in 4th grade. It was bound with leather and had over-sized, glossy pages full of bold, color photography.

And I thought about my children growing up scrolling through a lit-up iPad rather than thumbing over glossy pages of hand-drawn illustrations, dreaming about how the characters move and talk, reading the book over and over until the pages are bent and smudged.

And suddenly, while my fellow marketers were thinking of how we can ignite mobile strategies to meet this growing affluent market, a rally cry rose within me and I thought with passion: “By God, I shall read them books!”

It’s a small thing, really. And I certainly have nothing against emerging technologies in balance. (In fact, my smart phone has saved us on more than a few restaurant outings with the kids). But to me, I want my children to love the tactile things of the world  like I want them to eat natural food and get fresh air, knowing that gratification is not always found in an instant, but within an imagination.

“A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplates it, bearing within him the image of a cathedral.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

2 Comments

  1. I couldn’t agree more! I blogged about something very similar today – how I decided not to get a smartphone for this very reason. Even though I’m not a technophobe, I’m really trying to work on being present to my kids when I am with them. And as tempting as a smartphone may be, I just can’t have one more distraction from the messy, tactile, fun & dirty reality of being with them!

  2. Emily S

    I hear ya, sister! We are a book-loving family and it’s such a bonding, learning experience to share a book together. One of our favorite things from this school year has been reading through the Little House series. Even the little ones listen along and are interested in the story line. I love it! Our library card is one of the greatest resources we have these days. :)
    By the way, excited for you guys with all the big changes in your world right now. Will be praying for y’all!

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