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Does texting hurt kids’ ability to write formally

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texting - Courtesy of stockxpert.com

A recent study by Symantec (Norton Antivirus) was released a few days ago.  Over 75% of parents in different countries feel that the use of e-mail and other electronic forms of written communication such as posting on social networking sites, text messaging, and blogging does not help young students develop (formal) written communication skills.  Read the full article in Today’s Star http://tiny.cc/yZ6lz.

Another study published in the March 2009 issue of the British Journal of Developmental Psychology confirms the exact opposite.   “Kids who use “textisms” on mobile phones tend to have a better grasp of (normal) word reading, vocabulary, and phonological awareness, even when controlled for age, memory, and how long they have owned a phone.” http://tiny.cc/gmNt5.

I can only share my personal observations as a learner and parent.

 I have two teenage daughters who use texting and messaging extensively and like most teenagers post on  Facebook , chat on MSN,  and use Twitter.  I use these communication tools with them on a regular basis.

One daughter is at Mac Master University (Science and French), the other is at the Academy of the Arts and doing well in French, History, English — she wants to become a writer.

Since they were little tots my wife and I read to them on a regular basis and encouraged them to read as much as possible.  We sent them to French School and taught them Italian at home.  They also picked up some Spanish along the way.

Texting, blogging, and so on is another form of written communication.  Another expression of  language.  If children are taught the value of reading, communicating, speaking, and writing at an early age they will do well in any communication form and forum. 

Getting kids to  love language and appreciate fluent communication has to start at home.  We can’t  relinquish this important cultural and intellectual development stage exclusively to the  school.

Certainly banning texting and blogging and whatever else kids use to communicate in writing could in some cases, eliminate the only form of written communication that they engage in.