A timeless enjoyment

Remember that smile that would beam across your face when a teacher would present you with a sticker? You would model that sticker with pride, and show it off to anyone and everyone with a certain amount of smugness to you. When seeing all those gold star stickers, lining up one after another, each representing an achievement that you have proudly completed.

Yes admittedly, some of those gold stars were awarded for simple tasks such as managing to tie your own laces, but they were achievements none the less. Such a simple thing as a sticker can bring so much happiness to a child, and it seems that they are timeless enjoyment.

Even psychologists appreciate how much stickers mean to children, a study was conducted to discover whether children can adopt a sharing mind-set. In this study the children were introduced to a puppet dog, the children were told that the dog was sad. They then had the option of keeping the stickers for themselves, or giving the stickers to the dog in order to make it happy.

Psychologists understand that stickers are very important to a child, and to give away asticker would come at a personal cost. For stickers to be used in a scientific experiment highlights the important role of sticker in a child’s life.

The battle with electronics

The important thing to take from the ongoing popularity of sticker books is simply that, even though our world is simply inundated with tablets, smartphones, Xboxes, PlayStations, iPads, Nexuses, Kindles and all manner of weird and wonderful technological inventions, there is still a great deal of value in traditional print media, especially for the younger members of the family.

One of the biggest arguments for electronic devices has been that they can be educational as well as simply being a form of entertainment.  Indeed, many modern devices – which visually are pre-cursors to full, adult-style tablets – are marketed as being educational.  However, it could be strongly debated whether or not electronics are as effective as print is in terms of learning.

For instance, in the last couple of years reports have indicated that ebooks can be outright bad for children, with the various bells and whistles that accompany them offering a distraction from the story.  A similar investigation by the renowned publisher Scholastic showed that though e-book sales continue to rise, the younger members of the family still prefer the feel of a paper book.

With the above two studies focused more on reading in general, it’s worth exploring whether or not there are any firm educational benefits to either the print or electronic approach.  The indications are that, yes, printed books have a range of their own benefits, with students (older, but still relevant!) finding e-books to be too cumbersome and ill-suited to educational use overall.  Another research paper – this time from the University of California – found that over half of students refused to use e-books when working on their papers.

The fuel for creativity

As well as encouraging education, print materials still represent perhaps the most intuitive way to be creative in a number of different disciplines.  Novelists such as Martin Amis continue to write their first drafts (the most creative phase of a story) in long-hand, and although electronic devices often offer ‘paint’ style programmes, a pot of paints, a pack of pencils and an artists’ sketchpad offer a huge amount of creative freedom unhindered by software, capable as it is of breaking, or of just not working the way you want it to.

Indeed, even a website such as DeviantArt – an art community based entirely on the web – still receives hundreds of pictures a day entirely created using classical art techniques.  Whatever the age of the artist in question, print and solid materials remain a vital part of education and creative evolution.

Going forward

It remains important for parents to try and encourage their children to invest in classic entertainment and education, whether this takes the form of books, sticker albums or simply some multi-coloured felt tips and a pad of paper.  Time spent away from the hypnotising glow of a blue-light screen is nearly always time well spent!

Tammy Wiltshire is the Marketing Manager at Labelnet, the leading manufacturers of self-adhesive labels, swing tags and admission tickets based in Ongar Essex.