The rapid development of digital technology has led to massive changes in the way we communicate and the way we read. In contrast to the focused, uninterrupted and time-consuming cognitive processes that are vital for successful reading, digital technology greatly emphasizes on rapid and massive information processing. Accumulated evidence has suggested that the reliance on digital media makes reading shallower, more fragmented and less attentive. Digital technology has an even more profound impact on Chinese reading development, with brain and behavioral evidence showing that increasing dependence on electronic modes is associated with weaker cortical activations and a marked decrease in reading ability. Here we provide an overview of the impact of digital technology on reading development, and urge caution in the rush to a complete transition to digital learning while abandoning classic methods of learning, such as handwriting.
Keywords: reading development, digital technology, brain, Chinese reading, handwriting