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Are Text Messages Making Kids Illiterate?

Let's face it: Kids text. They text in class, they text on the bus, they text in the middle of tests. In fact, one of them is so good she won $25,000 for busting out with some award-worthy text skills at the National Texting Championship last week. So what is the downfall of all this texting? Aside from the obvious finger cramps, USA Today is reporting that it's causing some devastating literacy digression in Ireland's youth.

The Education Department is blaming the country's increasingly poor spelling and writing skills in youth on their love of text messaging. In a recent report on the national test results in English for about 37,000 students aged 15 and 16, the department's Examination Commission said cutting-edge communications technology has "encouraged poor literacy and a blunt, choppy style at odds with academic rigor."

Apparently, Ireland is among the world leaders in cell-phone use (land lines are extremely pricey in the country) and surveys indicate that a majority of children have their own mobile phone by age 12, with some even sending more than 250 text messages a week. If this is a problem in Ireland, someone needs to seriously consider texting in America. I mean, we are celebrating a girl that says she sends 8,000 text messages a month!


Join The Conversation
museanima museanima 10 years
Come on, it's not like these kids are going to school and doing assignments in text speak. As long as they are still teaching proper english, they will learn to be literate in proper english. They might be learning text speak or l33t speak or even Klingon in a second language though, big deal.
koreniebear koreniebear 10 years
if teens and kids are using internet "lingo" (i can't believe i just used the word ling) during school and during times when its inappropiate, then i think there is a problem. but otherwise...does it really matter?? im only 20 so im practically still a teen and i still use all that "lingo" (ugh i used it again) on the internet all the time. its just an easier way to type and to get your point across.
misogi misogi 10 years
Here's a simple solution - if a child can't write three sentences using a cell phone or while typing online without a LOL, WTF?, lYk, or wut, then they deserve a pen and pencil instead of a cell phone or a computer. And I'm a teenager...the parents who are complaining should be saying this, not me.
naughtymonkey01 naughtymonkey01 10 years
I totally think that it is. my friend uses wut instead of what (and things like that) and now when she types me something or writes it at school that is what she will put ~*~The Penguins are slowly stealing my sanity~*~
jennifer76 jennifer76 10 years
I tutor algebra to high school/early college students online and I'm always having to ask I'm sorry, what does that mean? I guess it's online, so they think it's the same as IMing. But, if they can't discuss their school work without texting shorthand, I don't find it hard to believe that they fall into it in their assignments as well.
catstarr catstarr 10 years
Text messaging actually helped me spell some words correctly. With predictive text I was constantly trying to misspell words and finally I would figure out the right way to do it. I've never been a fan of "txting lyk this." There's that commercial about the little girl who texts too much and her mother wants to take her phone away and she's speaking in text garbage? I can't stand it.
Hope5 Hope5 10 years
No I don't.
menthadict menthadict 10 years
I'm very bad at texting, as I try to type in full words because seeing those one letter shapes really annoy me.
Raqie Raqie 10 years
I don't think that this is entirely the fault of text messaging. Kids have been using shorthand and bad grammar for quite a while ever since we've been able to chat online. I think it has made a huge difference in the quality of writing amongst teenagers. They aren't necessarily illiterate but they have allowed themselves to constantly bend/break the rules of decent writing. They have gotten used to it. If you read more myspace pages than you do books your vocabulary, grammar, and spelling skills are all obviously going to suffer. These kids obviously know that writing "cya" and such can't be done in an English paper. Still, they won't be able to write as smoothly and easily as those who haven't immersed themselves in such terrible examples of the written word.
jendudley jendudley 10 years
I believe kids are smarter than that. I don't believe that kids think IDK and cya l8er are correct English. They know that there is a difference between talking to their friends and writing English papers.
colormesticky colormesticky 10 years
You'd think kids would know the difference between text messages and papers for writing class. Those kids were probably stupid to start out with. :ROTFL: Sorry, it's Friday morning and I'm already up to no good.
PilatesSugar PilatesSugar 10 years
I must admit, when my little brother text messages me, I realize, "CRAP! I don't speak text, translator, anyone?"
cageyme cageyme 10 years
I wonder if kids who are good texters but are still able to use proper grammar in other situations can be considered bi-lingual? They could potentially be really good at foreign languages.
laralu laralu 10 years
I think it's ok within limits since that's what SMS stands for : short messaging service. And since your messages are limited to a certain number of characters you don't have the space (or maybe money, credit) to afford to write whole stories in 120 characters. In my opinion, as long as this form of English doesn't leave cell phone texts it's acceptable. I dread reading myspace pages or who knows what site written only in "u", "y", "k", "dno", "mb" and so and so on. They'll end up illiterate if there's no one there to constantly remind them we speak and write in normal English, not cell phone English :)
azucar_maddy azucar_maddy 10 years
Knowing and understanding 'text messages' and other multimedia jargon is part of Modern Literacy. Literacy is not limited to being able to read the classics and write in academic Standard English.
glam-sugar glam-sugar 10 years
I agree, when my nieces and nephews email me, they're using the texting shorthand instead of proper english!
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