Kids and cell phones: Does text literate equal English literate?
November 12, 2012
November 12, 2012
They’re not destroying the language. They won’t be responsible for the death of the apostrophe. Furthermore, their language comprehension won’t be affected.
In fact, kids who use text lingo might be stronger spellers than those who don’t.
A study from Coventry University shows there is “no evidence” that young people who are heavy cell phone users had any deficit in language development. The study actually showed that children who use “textisms” (text message abbreviations, such as: lol, plz, l8ter) more often had “more sophisticated literacy skills.”
For the study, researches looked at a group of students between the ages of eight and 12 and followed them for an academic year. They found that by the end of the year a child’s phonological awareness (the ability to detect, isolate and manipulate patterns of sound in speech) and literacy skills could be predicted by their level of textisms at the beginning of the study. Those whose grasp of textisms was greater had more developed literacy skills by the end of the year.
“We suggest that children’s use of textisms is far from problematic,” said Dr. Clare Wood, a British Academy grant holder on Coventry University’s website. “If we are seeing a decline in literacy standards among young children, it is in spite of text messaging, not because of it.”
It’s interesting to note that 81 per cent of the children involved in the study had their own mobile phone. The average age of when they got their first mobile phone was 8.4 years. The point? Technology has become part of childhood. Parents need to accept, and even embrace, it.
Of course, being concerned is natural. Knowing how children are using technology is important. But at least parents can breathe a little easier knowing that just because text messages from their children says “ur,” it doesn’t mean the child doesn’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re”.
What it might mean is that instead of discouraging children from using textisms, parents might want to educate themselves on just what these textisms are.
Thankfully, there’s technology for that as well. It’s as easy as typing it into Google. E123 (easy as 1, 2, 3). Try it urself. B4N.