I can't count the number of stories seen here about parents and teachers worried about how being online has impacted their children's writing ability. They all seem worried that "IM speak" is destroying their ability to write with proper English. New research, though, is suggesting just the opposite. The fact that kids are writing online so frequently means that they're more comfortable with using written means to express themselves. They're experimenting with language, but they're learning from those experiences and are more comfortable with writing than those who weren't brought up constantly using the computer. As for the issues of kids writing in IM-speak, there's plenty to suggest that, with proper training, they can easily learn when it is, and is not, appropriate. Also, it seems like many people grow out of IM-speak after a certain point. College kids today, who have used IM for years, say that it seems childish to them nowadays. Once again, worried adults seem to have overreacted to how kids make use of new technologies.
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