Kindle: The Love of Reading (Alone in Your Depressing Kitchen)

photoLook at this ad. Which reaction feels more like the one you’re having — be honest. Don’t think too hard.

A.   Oh, look at that happy little girl reading! How cute!

B.    Dear God, what is our world coming to?

Here’s what I suspect: If you picked “A,” you’re 30 or younger. If you picked “B,” you’re over 30. Maybe 35. I’m not sure where that exact line is.

To me (comfortably in group B), this colorless image of a little girl eating alone, her device her only company, makes me sad for her. It makes me wish she had someone to talk to. It makes me think about my own kids and worry that we don’t have enough family meals and that I really need to do a better job of limiting screen time. It makes me reflect on technology’s role in the spike in childhood depression and obesity.

Here’s what it doesn’t do: Make me want to buy a Kindle.

So with that, I address this second question to Amazon, maker of the Kindle: How old do you think the parents of this child are? Probably at least 30, right? And unless this child is some modern Pippi Longstocking, she actually lives with parents who make the purchasing decisions. This means I am the target audience. Is this ad working on me? See above.

What could they have done differently to make me feel okay about giving my kid a Kindle? For starters, if they want to convince non-digital natives like me that this is the new normal and I need to embrace it, here’s my very obvious idea: How about having her dad sitting across from the girl — maybe reading the paper. You know, two different ways of doing the same thing. Or how about making it color? Or making the girl look at least a little bit happy?

If you do all that, Amazon, I might think about buying a Kindle. Except, oh, I forgot: “No toys at the table.” But maybe I’m just old.

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