How ebooks guard against bullying
Thirty percent of kids worldwide are bullied each year. Every day, 160,000 teens skip school due to bullying. LGBTQ students, students who are shy or socially awkward and students with learning disabilities or emotional or behavioral disorders are bullied in disproportionate numbers. Whether or not students actually fall within these groups, their social capital is calculated based on how other students perceive them. This kind of stress interferes with learning.
Teens are constantly curating their identity, but young people from marginalized groups might not have the same kind of chameleon ability. This can leave them vulnerable. Representation and inclusion is a hallmark of modern education: we can’t be what we don’t see. But does *everyone* need to see? Increased privacy is a demand that emerges between childhood and adolescence, essential to teens’ healthy development. In the confusing tides of adolescence, quietly relating to a book character might be the only buoy afforded a student struggling with emotional access and expression during middle school and high school.
Reading in peace
The privacy provided by digital learning reduces the stress of overexposure and judgment that students are desperate to avoid. eBooks have no bookcover billboard. Audiobooks offer further anonymity and endless mobility. A student can read a gay YA novel without worry of meaning being made, or getting backed into a conversation they aren’t yet ready for. Or maybe a popular student is a secret sci-fi devotee, and wants to enjoy his reading escape free of peer commentary.
Adolescence is a process of becoming. Reading allows tweens and teens to relate to characters unlike people they know in real life. It can expand their empathy for others and help them feel less alone. Reading is a safe way to explore both their inner world and the broader culture.
Regardless of social standing, every student can benefit from the privacy exclusive to digital learning. Shielding students from overexposure reduces stress and makes learning more meaningful.