Texting and Poor Writing Skills: No Reason to LOL

Although today’s students spend more time writing than past generations did both in and out of school, texting lingo, abbreviations, symbols, and emoticons are rapidly pervading–and eroding–formal writing. The unfortunate result is a lack of professional, appropriate communication and presentation, which down the road can lead to disappointment and a lack of success when it comes to college acceptances, securing a job, and career advancement.

Here are just a few facts illustrating the importance of writing properly for any type of writing aside from texting:

  • Using texting lingo in formal writing lessens the writer’s credibility, putting forth an unprofessional, uneducated appearance, whether it be writing for academic assignments or assessments, college application essays, correspondence (on paper or in e-mails), professional presentations for internships or jobs, or publications.
  • Students today may be writing more in quantity and frequency, but their writing skills are less than stellar.  Writers of all ages should focus on adhering to established rules in spelling, grammar, usage, and punctuation when writing for any forum aside from text messaging.  This includes e-mails! The 2008 Pew Internet and American Life Project, “Writing, Technology, and Teens,” revealed from its phone survey and focus group studies that overall, 64 percent of teens admit to including informal writing styles, such as texting lingo, symbols, and emoticons, in their school writing.
  • There are no excuses for shortcuts and laziness with today’s technology.  Most writing is done at the computer, which allows for instantaneous Internet access to writing resources: the online dictionary and thesaurus and a slew of credible sources offering rules for proper grammar, usage, and punctuation.  Being right when you write has become easier than ever!
  • Practice makes perfect, and the more frequently we demand that writers stick to conventionalisms and established rules, the more writing will improve.  This involves parents, bosses, and even parents holding students–and themselves–accountable for producing appropriate writing.

Be sure to share these facts with your children, teens, and young adults; some adults could also use a refresher and reminder as well!

Encourage children and teens to keep a journal, where they can write traditionally in sentences and paragraphs while still enjoying freedom and self-expression. Another entertaining form of writing is communicating with a pen pal: a friend who moved to another town, a relative living in another state, a summer camp acquaintance, a family member serving in the military, or an older sibling away at college.

Remember, with All About Writing, writing help is just a call or click away!

by Christa Riddle

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