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Talk of the Day -- When surfing the Internet replaces reading

2014/05/10 20:21:59

Taiwanese people now spend an average of only 20 minutes a day reading, according to the results of a survey conducted by the Grassroots Influence Foundation.

In a digital world, people are now used to "browsing" instead of "actually flipping pages," experts said, adding that the public now reads news via mobile devices rather than traditional newspapers.

The following are excerpts from the United Daily News' coverage of the issue:

The survey conducted in March showed that over 68 percent of respondents said their first source of news is television, followed by computers, tablets and smartphones at 16.4 percent and newspapers at 12 percent.

Outside of work and school, people spend 2.66 hours a day using computers, tablets and smartphones, longer than the 2.09 hours they spend watching TV, the poll showed.

People only spend 0.34 hours, or 20 minutes, a day reading books, according to the poll.

In view of the digital trend, the government should make good use of the "most economic and fastest" technology when promoting policies, said Chen Sung-po, a spokesman for the foundation's research center.

The recent dispute over a trade-in-services agreement with China is a good example, he said.

The public had a vague understanding of the pact after seminars and public briefings held by the government, while student protesters were able to mobilize thousands to take to the streets to voice their concern via digital media, he explained.

A total of 1,084 valid samples, aged over 18, were collected for the survey, which had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Meanwhile, reading less may also increase the risk of getting dementia, experts cautioned.

Reading can stimulate the brain, said Ou Yang Wen-jen, superintendent of the Changhua Christian Hospital's Lu-tung branch, encouraging people to think about and discuss what they have read.

Reading and solving crossword puzzles can reduce the risk of getting dementia by 32 percent, according to a study by Rush University Medical Center.

Tang Li-yu, secretary general of the Taiwan Alzheimer's Disease Association, said using the brain is key and watching TV and using the computer can also be good.

To prevent dementia, people should also spend time exercising and having an active social life, Tang urged. (May 10, 2014)

(By James Lee)

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