I heard a horrifying statistic a couple of months ago on Radio 4 – according to research by YouGov, over 70% of children today have not heard the story of ‘Daniel in the lions den’ or, for that matter, many other stories from the Bible.
Now you could argue that the reason for this is due entirely to the fact that it has religious origins and the changing face of belief has deemed that stories like these are inappropriate or irrelevant in society today.
Dig a little deeper, however, and it is revealed that Daniel is not the only one that has been sent to Coventry. Fairy tales and other fables are also becoming less popular with the charms of Little Red Riding Hood, Hansel and Gretel, and Rumpelstiltskin in danger of being confirmed to the archives of a lost tradition forever.
Putting aside the enjoyment of these stories, as well as the delivery of a moral message encased within them and the educational value of that alone, other evidence suggests that the entire art of story telling is, in fact, dying out.
This troubles me. From a purely professional point of view, the roles of PR and journalism are entirely about telling tales, not in a fantastical or exaggerated way but in the recounting of stories in a factual, interesting, exciting and equally enticing way.
The lack of story telling will also, no doubt, have a consequence on the development of children’s imaginations and the honing of the skills of the next generation to use the English language in a creative way.
But the issue is, undoubtedly, far wider than this. The rise of digital media is destined to have a far more lasting negative effect on the way that society interacts with each other. I can’t help but think that the dependency on portable devices and social media, in particular, is breeding a generation that are incapable of voice to voice and face to face communications.
Perhaps, it is time that every one of us looks in the mirror and asks our reflection about the responsibility we all have on the future of communications whether that be in a professional capacity or, most importantly, in the development of life skills and make some changes so we can all live happily ever after.