A few weeks ago, Tim Challies released his book on the role of technology in our lives, The Next Story: Life and Faith After the Digital Explosion. In it he brings into focus the moral and spiritual challenges of new technology. He says, “We cannot run away from digital technology — mobile phones and computers and the Internet and television are likely to be with us in one form or another for some time. Nor would we necessarily want to run away from them. Certainly, not all technology is harmful or dangerous. Is there a way, then, to live virtuously, immersed in this strange new digital reality?” He summarizes Part One, “Our task, then, is not to avoid technology but to carefully evaluate it, redeem it, and ensure that we are using it with the right motives and for the right goals.”
At Redeemed reader, we know that books are being revolutionized by new technology, but we share Tim’s hope of redeeming that new frontier–and to that end, I’ve invited Michael Jones of Malechi Technology Services to help us think through one particular piece of technology, the ereader.
If you aren’t part of the technorati, you might not realize how ereaders are changing the way we consume media. It’s true that hard bound books are alive and well, but ereaders are opening up completely new ways of looking at books–including books for kids. If you didn’t know ebooks were serious business, just take a look at the Kirkus Reviews site’s new Discovery Engine for children’s book apps. Apparently there are so many book apps, Kirkus (a longtime book review magazine/website catering to librarians) felt a need to branch out beyond just book reviews to book app reviews. I won’t paste the video here, but you can view the cutting edge of this new frontier in Kirkus’s number one app, Popout! The Tale of Peter Rabbit. (If you’ll scroll down and click on the video tab, you can see this iPad book in action.)
What if you don’t have an ereader? You should know that popular color ereaders are already changing the way paper books are chosen and structured. From now on, many authors will write with tablets in mind, which affects everything from the kind of illustrations to the text on the page.
So, as Tim said, ereaders for kids’ books are here–at least for a little while. How can redeem them?
I think a great way to start this discussion (which I’m sure will go much deeper) is by considering basic ereader safety issues. Enter Michael Jones. Michael is both a Christian and a technology buff. While he’s been vetted in the corporate programming world, he is also down-to-earth enough to have taught computer basics in the Brentwood City Library. (He also hosts our site, so if it’s running smoothly, that’s his talent at work.)
In today’s interview, I asked Michael to give us an overview of ereaders and some basic safety concerns. He gives some analysis of the safety issues with different brands of ereaders, including Nook, Kindle, and iPads. And as you might expect, he has a few easy steps parents can take to safeguard their kids.
Do you have a question for Michael? Feel free to post a follow up comment or question in the COMMENTS below.
If you don’t have time for a 10 minute podcast, you can skim his tips on ereader safety at www.malechitech.com/blog/. Here are a few related Redeemed Reader posts, too: The Digital Age, Free Classic eBooks, RR Podcast 2: Tim Challies on Choosing Kids’ Books, and RR Podcast: Kevin Twit on The Jesus Story Bible.