Texting is eroding tweens' literacy skills, Penn State study shows

  • Model Melissa Benjamin demonstrates the possible dangers of walking and texting for a photo illustration.
Model Melissa Benjamin demonstrates the possible dangers… (Kim Hairston )
August 08, 2012|By Liz Atwood | Special to The Baltimore Sun

It probably comes as no surprise to those of us who have read our kids' composition papers, but a new study by Penn State researchers finds that text messaging is eroding the literacy skills of our tweens.

The survey of 228 students in the sixth, seventh and eighth grades, found that those kids who use "techspeak" when they text scored lower on grammar assessment tests. The study was published in New Media and Society.

With techspeak kids use phonetic spelling or abbreviations to make texting faster. But frequently writing "gr8"” and "lol" seems to hinder kids' ability to switch to conventional grammar, the researchers found.

Both sending and receiving texts had a negative effect on the students, the researchers say. 

OMG! One more challenge to teaching our kids to write!

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