Today, it's a common sight to see teenagers, tweens, and even younger kids texting. Aside from worry about monitoring your child's cell phone usage, parents need to ask themselves: Is our kid's texting affecting their handwriting skills? Many of our children will take any opportunity to reach into their pocket for their cell phone to type and send some texts to friends. This brings up the question of whether the text habit is affecting the handwriting skills of our children in a negative way. The simple answer is, yes. Consider some of the specific ways that texting poorly affects the handwriting of teenagers as well as younger kids.
First, the accuracy of a child's spelling is affected by this 21st century method of communication. Oftentimes, when a kid texts a friend, he or she uses acronyms, abbreviations, and even single letters as opposed to typing out complete words. This doesn't allow them to practice proper spelling. Consequently, when they do write an assignment for school they have a lot of misspelled words. They may even spell the words on paper like they do in a text! In addition to that, kids may make up their own words or acronyms that aren't based on accepted language. This may be okay between friends, but is not acceptable on an assignment for school.
The problem of poor spelling also comes into play when a child becomes an adult. Most adults send out resumes and fill out applications for employment at some point in their lives. Misspelled words or poorly worded resumes are usually discarded out of hand by employers. These mistakes reflect badly on an applicant for a job. In fact, to a potential employer, the job applicant appears unprofessional or maybe just careless. Alternatively, a resume with no spelling mistakes and clear statements indicates a person capable of doing a job. Because many children today spend so much of their time texting, they don't take the trouble to learn how to spell new words.
Next, the fact that today's kids spend so much of the time texting means that they get very little practice with their handwriting skills. In previous generations, kids used to write notes to one another and even write letters to friends. This gave them practice writing letters clearly and correctly. When learning handwriting, kids get the chance to perfect their skills at forming letters. Sending texts takes away practice time and eliminates the need for kids to put pen to paper outside of a few hours at school.
When a kid applies to college or writes an essay for school, he or she needs to know how to express complete thoughts in writing. The typical text sent by a kid contains partial thoughts along with partial words. Some kids even use icons to express their thoughts in texts. Plus, when sending messages to friends via certain types of social media, a kid only gets to use a limited amount of characters per message. This trains them to abbreviate their thoughts. This may work in the realm of social media and texts, but in a college essay or a report for school it doesn't allow a student to fully explain his or her ideas. A college instructor may read a student's essay and not be able to understand what the student is trying to convey.
Most of the time when kids text one another they don't include punctuation or attempt to use proper grammar. So, when it comes time to write an essay or report for school, a kid misuses or omits many forms of punctuation. Once again, a teenager may have learned about proper punctuation in elementary school, but doesn't need to practice it when he or she can send a text full of abbreviations and acronyms.
When kids don't practice handwriting they can misuse words. For instance, by writing the words flair and flare a kid can see that they have different spellings. This will likely prompt them to look up the definitions of each word. Writing helps kids to learn about the many words that sound the same, but have different meanings. Texting doesn't prompt a kid to check on the definition of a word. It doesn't even give them an opportunity to encounter words they're unfamiliar with.
Finally, the ease and convenience of texting may make a child resent having to learn proper penmanship. They don't think handwriting is necessary. However, accurate spelling and clear handwriting will serve them if they go to college as well as in a number of different career fields. These are useful skills that can allow them the opportunity to standout among their contemporaries.