Yet Another Study Shows Txting Is Good For Kids

from the can-we-put-this-to-rest? dept

We’ve had a whole series of posts in the past showing various studies explaining that so called “txt spk” isn’t harming kids. In fact, the studies have shown that kids these days tend to have a better ability to read and usually recognize when it is, and when it’s not appropriate, to use such slang speak in their writing. Yet, every time we post such a study, we get angry comments from people who insist that kids writing in txt spk somehow are destroying the fabric of society. A few folks have sent in the latest report of a study that shows, once again, that txt spk isn’t harming reading/writing ability. In fact, it shows the opposite. Those who tend to use txt speak more often have better reading skills than those who don’t. I’m sure we’ll still get angry responses, but considering how many different studies have shown the same thing, at some point, you’re going to need to realize that txt spk isn’t killing kids’ abilities in reading or writing.

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Comments on “Yet Another Study Shows Txting Is Good For Kids”

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R. Miles says:

Education is limitless. Educating is limited.

I dismiss these studies as history has shown kids will find ways of being different than “society” wants them to be. It’s expected.

“Txt spk” is no different to them than saying “radical” or “gag me with a spoon”, neither of which is “inserted” into arenas which don’t warrant them.

The sad truth, though, education today is in need of serious restructure. Ask a teenager what the capital of South Dakota is, and they look as though you just punched them in the gut.

Sadly, this “education” carries through to adulthood.

It’s a damn shame.

PS: Pierre is the capital of SD. If you didn’t know this, shame on you.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Education is limitless. Educating is limited.

I don’t know the capital of south Dakota simple because i don’t care. I have never gone anywhere near south Dakota, nor do I know anybody from there. I’m not a political scientist nor a cartography. Why would want to clutter my head with useless trivia? So I can score a $10 question on Jeopardy? I don’t watch Jeopardy either.

Get a clue. Misplaced importance on irrelevant data is a limiting factor of formal education.

R. Miles says:

Re: Re: Education is limitless. Educating is limited.

Get a clue. Misplaced importance on irrelevant data is a limiting factor of formal education.
Irrelevant? Maybe so, but try to think past the state capitals.

Since you can’t understand this, then let me rephrase.
Ask any teenager to take 15% off an item costing $75 and they look as though you just punched them in the gut.

There’s your clue.

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re: Re: Education is limitless. Educating is limited.

I’m lost. How does use of basic skills (arithmetic, reading comprehension, spelling, etc…) compare to the retention of triviality?

I think I understand the point you are trying to make (weak basic skills in teens) but the particular example (recalling state capitals) does not do a good job of supporting that point.

WarOtter (profile) says:

Re: Education is limitless. Educating is limited.

Gag me with a spoon?

WTF? I have literally never heard that before.

Anyway, people who claim it is killing the English language fail to understand that any language which does not evolve is a dead language, i.e. Latin.

That is why English as a whole thrives when subsets like ebonics, jive and txt spk are introduced.

mobiGeek says:

Re: Re: Education is limitless. Educating is limited.

Interesting thing that I like to point out to the older generations. It isn’t whether the punk on our street knows a fact that the retired lady next door knows. It is whether either of them could come up with an answer to a question that they don’t readily have.

20 years ago, I’d have given the edge to that lady. She has a couple of dictionaries, a copy of Bartlett’s Quotations, likely an encyclopedia or two.

Today? I bet that punk’s homepage is Google…

Bryan says:

Re: Re: Re: Education is limitless. Educating is limited.

I have to agree, the ability to retain trivial knowledge, while maybe a nice tool to have, has less and less importance on the way we live our lives today. For every Pierre, South Dakota you can remember there is a piece of trivia you can’t remember or never learned. Does this mean you’re less valuable to society? No.

I’m a computer programmer, there is no way I could ever possibly memorize every function, class, or technique for a given language. What makes me competent is my ability research and find a solution to a problem I’ve never considered or never learned how to deal with.

In today’s day and age where we communicate in 140 char messages, being concise is MUCH more important than delivering a message with proper syntax. If me and the person I’m communicating with both understand the idea that is being expressed, the format the idea is presented in does not matter. Furthermore, I’m not any less intelligent for communicating in such a manner.

College Professor says:

IF so

If texting isn’t causing kids’ English skills to deteriorate, then the excuse must either be a poor American education system, or a choice on behalf of the kids to prefer to not use proper writing skills in real life. In the classroom over the years, I have seen grammar and spelling skills on the decline, along with “AIM-ese” in college level essays. Nice.

Eric says:

Re: IF so

So what? Where in the world other than journalism and school systems does any one care about grammar…i work for a large fortune 100 company, no one cares about grammar (both those just out of college and those here for many many years), get the content correct – thats what matters – if you miss a semi colon or misspell a word – things still get done, the message still gets across.

But yes – the education system in this country sucks – i blame a lot on parents, they want their children to have A’s and don’t want them to be challenged to get it – so blame teachers who actually try and raise the bar

Michael Long (user link) says:

Re: Re: IF so

If I’m one of your potential customers then I care.

If you can’t be bothered to speak or write correctly, if you’ve decided that none of those things “matter”, then how many other little details are you also going to sweep under the rug?

If you can’t be trusted to get a simple sentence right, then why should I trust you in anything else?

It all comes under the heading of professionalism. Look it up.

Rekrul says:

“In fact, the studies have shown that kids these days tend to have a better ability to read and usually recognize when it is, and when it’s not appropriate, to use such slang speak in their writing.”

Apparently they’ve decided that it’s appropriate to use such slang speech everywhere on the net.

The level of intelligence displayed by many posters on web forums is somewhere between an eggplant and a doorknob.

Most forums have options for quoting and text styles like italics and bold, but almost nobody uses them. Hell, 3/4 of the users on the IMDb boards are too stupid to grasp the concept that while they may see a flat display, the boards are threaded and that it matters which message they reply to. Even after being told this, they insist on replying to the last message, even if they’re responding to one five messages up.

Anonymous Coward says:

don’t know the capital of south Dakota simple because i don’t care. I have never gone anywhere near south Dakota, nor do I know anybody from there. I’m not a political scientist nor a cartography
Your opinion shows in the horrid sentences quoted here. You begin a sentence with a capital letter – “Don’t”. South is part of the name of the state, so thus is capitalized – “South Dakota”. You do not know the capitol (with an O, not an A) of South Dakota “simply” instead of “simple” (although I would say “simple matches you well). When you refer to yourself, the “I” is capitalized. The last part there is amusing. You are not a cartography? How about saying you are not a “cartographer”.

Your obvious and casual disregard for “useless trivia” shows all too well. I’m guessing the “$10 Jeopardy question” that you can’t answer is “How do I get a job?”. I can answer the $100 Jeopardy (and even more) question and that’s why I’m typing this from work.

I enjoy hearing the illiterate say how unimportant literacy is. I also like mocking them. It gives me pleasure.

Oh, and my comment that is truly germane to the discussion here? Kids will use texting shorthand in places other than the cell phone, but generally they know the rules of grammar. Frequently they choose not to use proper grammar, and that is the main problem. My complaint is that a large portion of the young people have yet to see the need to speak clearly and write as they speak. Language is the tool that builds the tools, so a general competence in writing and spelling is critical for anyone other than those doomed to go to work and say nothing other than “Would you like a hot apple pie with that?”

u no wht i mn?

mike42 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Rob R,

You are obviously 20 years late to this game. We decided way back in the BBS days that we didn’t care about spelling, grammar, etc. It was all about substance. Did you understand the post that you were commenting on? Of course. This is a different format with different rules: deal with it.

Notice how your admission of authorship is now separated by this post? That’s because you don’t understand this format. You should have used the “reply to this comment” link.

Your skills are out of date, and rather than update them, you rant about the change. You are obsolete.

The infamous Joe says:

Re: Re:

Why is the capitol of an American state the way in which you determine intelligence? What would you say if you were asked the capitol of some obscure country? You’d probably say that you had no reason to know that information and therefore never memorized it.

Also, take caution when insulting someone’s spelling, as you are now on the Internet, and not everyone online speaks fluent English. A misspelled word is not a good indictor of intelligence either.

I’ve often wondered why people put so much stock in grammar and spelling. The only function of language is to communicate your message to someone else. If I spel thingz rong butt stil git the poynt acros then wat duz it mater? We humans use mostly context, not spelling, to determine word meaning. That’s why computers are so bad at it. It’s easy to teach a computer meanings and spelling, not context.

Finally, why didn’t you type your message in Old English? Verily, it wouldst be prudent of thee to realize that thine language be forever changing, for sooth.


Rob R. says:

Eric, you’re a liar. Either that or you’re the janitor for the basement. I have friends that work at a Fortune 1000 company and people have been reprimanded for the inability to compose a proper business communication. The ability to communicate in a manner that reflects the intelligence of the company is crucial, so if your company doesn’t care about communicating properly and professionally, then……well let’s just say that they do and you’re just clueless or outright lying.

mike42, you show your idiocy and lack of skills by saying Notice how your admission of authorship is now separated by this post? That’s because you don’t understand this format. You should have used the “reply to this comment” link. when there are 3 posts in between my correction about my name and your admonishment claiming that your post is before the admonishment that you’re posting about. Umm, how in the hell do you say that a post you’re making that refers to a post that is already there is going to be before the post you’re posting about? You’re telling me that my skills are 20 years out of date and I don’t understand this format. Interesting that I’m in IT at a large company and do web design. See how little you know? Course, that’s just a triviality to you.

Oh, you don’t follow that at all, do you? Been texting too much? This might help:
u r cluless n ned to goway kthxbye

Xiera says:

Re: Re:

Not that I want to feed the flames, but, Rob, both you and mike42 are correct. The difference is that you’re reading it in flattened layout and he’s reading it in threaded layout.

Typical forum behaviour is to respond directly to a post (sub-thread), rather than just adding a new response to the main thread.

nasch says:

Re: yes, but...

There are no accounts here, but you can set your preferences to flat or threaded (and save them via cookie). I have no idea why anyone would prefer flat, but it’s the default, so there you go.

BTW… why no accounts? It would be nice if I could be notified when someone’s replied to me. Too much expense/trouble?

As Rob so eloquently put it, kthxbye.

Slackr says:


How long have abbreviations existed? Tell me the difference in function between txt spk and abbreviations? Yet half of the posts above used abbreviations without a single hesitation.

As the supposedly superior educated and grammatically competent community passing judgement on the txt spkrs, we can’t surely be mocking one of our own (“the UK’s leading linguistic academic”) who has taken the time to thoroughly review the facts in his own field of speciality?

Dan G. (profile) says:

Context Matters

I think that it is very important to both understand basic rules of grammar and be able to spell properly if you want to be taken seriously as a professional (or even just as a reliable source of information).

For instance, if Mike’s posts here were full of grammatical errors and shoddy spelling, I most likely would not frequent this site as I do; proper spelling and grammar make you a more effective communicator, as well as being a courtesy to your audience. Abbreviated txt-speak has its place – in SMS, for instance, or Twitter, where space is limited. There’s no reason to type like that in a blog entry or long-form reply such as this one, and doing so immediately makes you appear ignorant or discourteous (regardless of whether or not you truly are).

I will often slack off with capitalization in instant messaging sessions, but I tend to be rather uptight about proper use of the English language whenever I have the opportunity to do so. And just for full disclosure: I’m a 20-something who grew up using BBS and spends far too much time on his computer. This has only served to reinforce my opinion on the subject, rather than weaken it.

So, to sum up: txt-speak has its place, but please, leave it there.

Michael Long (user link) says:


I’m more worried about how often kids are texting. Some, in fact, seem positively addicted to doing so.

One teen who works out at a local rec center will do a set on some machine, go to his locker and check his messages, come back, do another set, and go back to the locker again. All evening.

And let’s not even talk about the kids driving down the HIGHWAY texting madly away with their phone in front of their face.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Frequency

That’s how we communicate. And sometimes (lots of times) those short messages are time-sensitive. It’s like being concerned by how much someone talks on the phone or chats with a neighbor. Yeah, txting while driving is irresponsible and dangerous, but don’t let that color your opion of the whole opinion.

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