Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Does Texting Hurt Writing Skills?

Texting is a daily part of life for teens and preteens in today’s technology driven world. Their thumbs dance at super human speeds as they beat out acronym after acronym: the LOL’s, GTG’s, and TTYL’s that have become the basis for communication between young people.

But one has to wonder if texting is hurting the writing skills of our children.

One study, conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project called "Writing, Technology and Teens" found that the casual email, messaging, and texting lingo are indeed having a detrimental effect on student performance. Most alarming is the fact that text-talk is creeping into schoolwork and writing assignments more and more.

Many students admit that they often substitute a numerical 2 for the word “to” in class papers while others confess to occasionally inserting a smiley face emoticon in their work for good measure.
At least teens are writing something, say some parents. At least they are communicating.

But teachers disagree.

The more students text, the more they drift away from proper punctuation, grammar, and spelling.

Certainly students are writing more often than their pre-tech era  counterparts, but the quality of the writing has deteriorated. Incomplete sentences run rampant, and the essentials of basic sentence structure are in danger of becoming obsolete.

Students need to be made aware that writing is not simply an art form. Proper writing is a necessity of life as much as practical math and science skills. Writing will have long lasting implications for their future success whether it be in a four year university or in their chosen career.

So as parents and educators, we must make the effort to not only teach but demand competent writing and to lead by example. If there was ever a time to diligently and conscientiously put formal writing back into academic curriculums, the time is now.

So maybe it’s time to put down the cell phones and pick up a pen — before writing in your home becomes a distant memory.

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