Remember when the Harry Potter books first hit the market and were considered the best thing for kids since orange juice? J.K. Rowling achieved status akin to the second coming for enticing kids to read. Imagine. That too! Imagine.
Then she was pilloried for promoting witchcraft and wizardry and the dark side. Like Star Wars didn't? But the kids continued to read!
Today there was a blurb in the local paper, by Rob Stein of the Washington Post, telling of a study done in Britain by Stephen Gwilym of the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford. It compared how many fewer youngsters went to emergency rooms on weekends when Rowling's last two books were released vs other summer weekends. It would seem it was less than half the usual number because the kids were curled up indoors - reading. They actually fund studies like this??
It was concluded there could be a place for a committee of safety-conscious writers to produce high quality books (readable and attention holding?) for the purpose of injury prevention. The caveat was that such a project had potential problems which could include an unpredictable increase in childhood obesity, rickets (a bone disease resulting from insufficient vitamin D) and loss of cardiovascular fitness.
I do believe big brother paranoia has reached its peak with this one. I don't think a good dose of Harry Potter or any other series of books the kids actually like well enough to read is going to precipitate a health crisis among our youth. Not reading nor being interested in reading could, however, create crises beyond our imagination.
Oxford, the home of Oxford University and Rhodes Scholars, didn't achieve the acclaim it enjoys with students who didn't read. None that I know of emerged from a childhood climate rife with bad health and disease.
Maybe we need to recall Inspector Morse, who knew Oxford so well, to return and find the culprits who are murdering reason!