read the print

We do not disagree with the fact that technology should not be utilised for our enhancement of knowledge and capacity of the garnering and fathoming information. Knowledge is not information and information is not knowledge. They are distinctly two different dynamics. With information, when human intentions and passions are put together as a capacity, which is then shown in action, this eventually develops into knowledge. For example, knowing how to drive a car can be just information, but driving the car itself is only possible when information leads to the action of a person driving said car. Once a driver drives a car for some time, then they have become knowledgeable in this. Currently, computer screens are allowing people to receive information only. It is called an ‘information overload.’ What we have realised is that many people find that reading off a computer screen causes this ‘information overload’ and often, this restricts the development of information into knowledge. Scientific research conducted has found that reading prints merely helps one to extract and grasp information and is more likely to develop into knowledge. A study from (Hamer and Mcgrath, 2011) found that the majority of participants preferred ‘on-paper’ reading to reading from a screen. Another statistic showed that the participants had better concentration when reading off paper than off a screen.

Table 1 - Participants Preference to On-paper and Screen Reading – Adapted From  (Hamer and Mcgrath, 2011)

If you had a Choice of Format, Which Would you Choose? Percentage Response
Screen 11.8%
Paper 71.7%
No Difference 11.0%
It Depends 5.5%

Therefore, we believe that although computers have tremendous values for human life and without it, one’s life can be restricted in various forms of development, we consider the use of computers as a tool of information sharing and should be used for ‘professional reasons.’ An example is a Pilot, of which today, cannot fly an aeroplane without computers. Another is an accountant. Finances cannot be efficiently tracked without a computer. Finally, a doctor cannot treat their patients properly without the use of computers. The examples listed shows that computers have been used to share data for their professional purpose. They are not reading it like one does read a book or magazine. Thus, we believe that reading has a different meaning and purpose for our lives. It gives us information, which will lead to knowledge. This small difference between information and knowledge is imperative in life. The ‘Read the Print’ campaign is here to highlight the importance of reading prints and obtaining information for pleasure and therefore, gain knowledge. This campaign highlights a small thing, which has substantial benefits for us humans who cannot survive and progress without the appropriate use of information and knowledge. The incorporation of further intellectual, scientific, professional, and cultural assessments has been used as evidence for our campaign.

Some of the reasons behind the campaign are listed below:

  1. The feel and smell of a print – the opening of a freshly produced book or printed article stimulates the brain more than reading off a screen. It is like popcorn in a cinema.
  2. The ability to annotate the pages more easily – Annotating the pages of a print keeps one more focused and concentrated on the story or topic in question.
  3. Ability of keeping track of where you are – When reading a print, there is no notifications popping up, or the urge to go on social media, causing distraction and may lead one to lose where they are. From an engineer’s standpoint, having a project timeline increases project efficiency tenfold. This also applies when researching or reading around a subject, where being able to keep track of which equation or paragraph of information you are on increases the efficiency of knowledge gained.
  4. Being able to read outside easily – Trying to read off a screen in the bright sunny day can be difficult, or at least extremely challenging with the glare from the sun. With all prints, there is never this problem. It is why a book is an essential for any travelling away.
  5. Less Headaches – Although technology has become a daily part of our lives, it is always recommended to take a break every once in a while. Prolonged periods can lead to ‘digital eye strain,’ whereby one can experience a range of vision related symptoms including headaches. A study conducted in New York City by (Sheppard and Wolffsohn, 2018) found these results from people reporting symptoms during use of computers for more than half of the week.

Table 2 – Percentage of 520 Participants who Experienced Symptoms of DES when Using a Computer for More Than Half of the Time Over a Week Period – Adapted From (Sheppard and Wolffsohn, 2018)

Symptom Percentage Responded Reporting Symptom
Blurred Vision Whilst on Computer 17.3
Blurred Vision Looking at Something Far Away 23.4
Difficulty in Eyes Re-Adjusting From one Thing to Another 21.6
Irritation in Eyes 27.5
Dry Eyes 31.5
Strained Eyes 30.6
Headaches 22.3
Tiredness 39.8
Sensitive to Bright Lights 26.3
Discomfort in Eyes 30.8

This can disrupt the flow of a story or article one is reading for the gaining of knowledge. This wouldn’t happen with a book or other print.

  1. Better for Sleeping – The effect of blue light does have an effect of the amount of sleep a person gets. Blue light reduces the amount of ‘melatonin’ released. Melatonin is the hormone which makes us feel drowsy.
  2. Accessible to everyone! –  As long as the person can read, a book can be read by anyone. There is no requirement to have electronic devices or internet connection, or paying for a subscription to access online content, just the ability to read.


Hamer, A. B. and Mcgrath, J. L. (2011) ‘On-screen versus On-paper Reading: Students’ Strategy Usage and Preferences’, NADE Digest, 5(3), p. 25. Available at:

Sheppard, A. L. and Wolffsohn, J. S. (2018) ‘Digital eye strain: Prevalence, measurement and amelioration’, BMJ Open Ophthalmology, 3(1). doi: 10.1136/bmjophth-2018-000146.


T., B. T. M. et al. (2000) ‘Exposure to Visible Light Emitted from Smartphones and Tablets Increases the Proliferation of Staphylococcus aureus: Can this be Linked to Acne?’, 111, 0(c), pp. 51–60.

Hale, L. et al. (2018) ‘Youth Screen Media Habits and Sleep: Sleep-Friendly Screen Behavior Recommendations for Clinicians, Educators, and Parents’, Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 27(2), pp. 229–245. doi: 10.1016/j.chc.2017.11.014.

Torii, H. et al. (2017) ‘Violet Light Exposure Can Be a Preventive Strategy Against Myopia Progression’, EBioMedicine, 15, pp. 210–219. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.12.007.