Okay, I’ll admit to pushing 40 and being an enormous freaking crabapple curmudgeon, but this little headline really sent me over the edge:
“Children who use technology are ‘better writers’”.
Yeeeaaahhhh. I have young folks as Facebook friends, and sorry, I have no high hopes here for The Great American Novel — or even a cogent paragraph — out of most of these kids. And they’re not dumb kids, generally. I understand the form lends itself to a nonstandard mode of expression, and obviously the style I use here on Strollerderby is a lot different than what you’ll find in my journalistic work. But lack of capitalization, goofy punctuation and phonetic-at-best spelling seem to be the order of the day with younger people in particular.
Reading the article, though, everything becomes much more clear. See, it’s the kids themselves who are evaluating their writing skills. Britain’s Naitonal Literacy Trust surveyed 3,001 children aged nine to 16. They’re all heavy users of technology — 24 percent had their own blog, 82 percent sent text messages at least once a month and 73 percent used instant messaging services to chat online with friends.
Of the children who neither blogged nor used social network sites, 47% rated their writing as “good” or “very good”, while 61% of the bloggers and 56% of the social networkers said the same.
I’m wondering if their teachers, parents or other adults in their lives would say the same. I kind of doubt it, despite teachers in the article that happily burble about how any kind of writing, no matter how subliterate in tone, is still writing.
I see you rolling your eyes, Missy. Make that face and it’ll freeze like that. Also? Get off my lawn.