How to stop young people sexting and get them reading instead

Image: Pixabay

Image: Pixabay

Sometimes I think we have our priorities wrong.

As a pedestrian, I feel mildly narked I’m kept waiting at a crossing as vehicles are prioritised and fly merrily on their way. (Well, let’s be realistic. With the state of Bristol’s traffic, they crawl at the pace of a tortoise that’s just been discharged from the vet’s after a double hip replacement.)

It’s as if a ton of metal, spark plugs, fan belts and a hundred odd years of invention is more important than a messy old heart muscle, a pair of wheezy lungs and millions of years of evolution.

That’s when I’m a pedestrian, of course. When I’m riding in the bus or on the rare occasion I’m in a car, I’ll swear at the red lights as much as the next traveller.

It’s sad how we prioritise the young over the old, too, holding up the bloom of youth, our days of acne and dangerously high hormone levels, as the pinnacle of our lives from which the only way is down. We don’t revere the experience that the elderly have, the wisdom, the sheer bloody mindedness, tenacity and old school opinions that can make them so interesting to talk to – if a nightmare to share a Christmas with.

Of, course, I’m increasingly feeling this way as I grow into what other people would term ‘older lady’ status. I feel I have a truck load of knowledge and experience to impart to younger people, especially my son – just don’t expect me to recall any of it quickly.

The reason for my PRE – RAMBLE (a rambling preamble and a word I just made up, but will now use more often) is reading.

You see, I don’t want reading as a wonderful, engaging, enlightening pasttime to go the way of the dodo and the ra-ra skirt. I want to encourage young people to continue reading and not turn to gaming and publishing photos of their genitalia on social media as ways to pass the long hours before the sweet release of death. To do this, may I suggest prioritising readers by installing


You know, like cycle lanes but for the less physically fit. Special paths (with a drawing of a book on the ground in lovely, luminous paint, of course) would be made extra smooth, to avoid trip hazards – no raised curbs or wonky paving slabs here. Also, readers will automatically have right of way when crossing a road, so they don’t even need to look up from their books, no longer having to choose between life and finding out whodunnit.

You might need an especially adapted Sat Nav (with a lovely, soothing voice – probably Stephen Fry) to stop you from veering off into the river / flower beds / oncoming traffic, though.

We could extend the idea to make the top deck of buses a Quiet Zone for readers, installing book rests and overhead lamps at every seat and a lending library at the back, so you could borrow a book from one bus and when you’ve finished, leave it on the next bus you travel on.

I think these ideas might make us love the written word just a bit more.

Or not.

What do you think? What innovations would you bring in to encourage people to read?

11 thoughts on “How to stop young people sexting and get them reading instead

    1. Haha! Never been called a genius before. I do love the idea of a Quiet Zone on buses – they really need them. Though, of course, it would be a sad fact that many of the books would be nick or vandalised and never returned. Could have all the books as donations to keep costs down, so that rather than giving to the Cat Protection League charity shop, you leave books on the bus. Or we could electronically tag each book and have a private police force go round roughing up any one who damages the books – which should totally happen to book vandals anyway … 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Haha!
        I remember reading about a trend a few years ago where people left books they loved on busses or benches. The idea was once they’ve been read the person leaves them again for another person to find. Isn’t that lovely?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, it is. I wonder what happened to the books, though -if the idea was abused. The world would be a much better place if we could successfully have this kind of scheme going all the time

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I love the idea of a book lane – but could the rule be extended to allow writers to use it? I often write poetry when I’m walking along the road It annoys polite drivers, who stop to let me cross, but I stand there at the edge of the curb, totally unaware of them, while I scribble a couple more inspired lines.
    My eldest brother used to be accident-prone. He nearly lost his life once. The story goes that he was cycling along a lane a couple of miles from home when he was about 14, reading a book, when the butchers van came along, and he cycled right over it, flying and crashing to the ground. This was 50 years ago, and I never talked to him about it until a couple of weeks ago. I was disappointed when he told me he hadn’t been reading, and he didn’t fly over the van, but got knocked to one side.
    But had he wanted to, would he be allowed to cycle along the book track, or would there be a separate lane for stupid people?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like the others I do like the idea of Quiet Zones on buses, just like the quiet train carriages (but without having to tsktsk about people abusing the space with their noisy earphones on).

    Now, along with those Driverless Cars we hear so much about, how about driverless hands-free segues with bookrests for us bibliophiles, and dedicated pavements for us to ride on en route to another bookshop or library? Or even legalise hoverboards with roaming wifi for access only to audiobooks or BBC Radio 4 (for those averse to reading or severely affected by dyslexia)? Or maybe free taxi passes for accredited booklovers? I know I’d register …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sensible policies for a happier Britain! I would endorse every on of your ideas. And I seriously think that if people read more and gamed less they’d be less stressed – books should be on prescription.
      I nearly included a bit on my post about people with earphones and litter droppers – but feared I was coming across a bit right wing old harridan! I worked in a shop years ago that always played Radio Four – I so loved the afternoon plays, so intense an experience, just listening to voices without being distracted by the visuals. Problem was, I used to do a fair bit of tsk – ing myself when I had to serve and missed and important plot point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha – I love your reading lane idea! And also your new word, preramble – I can see that one catching on. :o) And I’d love to get Stephen Fry on my nav to keep me out of the creek. :o)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, yes – I can imagine Stephen’s voice ebing very soothing in times of need … ‘Now, you’ve got yourself in a bit of a pickle, haven’t you? Well, never mind. Did I ever tell you what the Dalai Lama told me when we went to lunch at the Savoy a few weeks ago?’

      Liked by 2 people

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