Spelling, Grammar, Kids and College

by Samantha on October 20, 2011


My last post on Kids and Cell Phones made me think more about the whole mobile phone phenomenon and the resulting effects on our kids, not just regarding health and safety.


In the past 10 years, text messaging has become a standard for the younger set. A whole new lexicon of words – if you can call them that – has emerged as a result of SMS, cell phones and the convenience of sending a quick message.

Full disclosure: I will say for the record here and now that I am a bit of a spelling and grammar fanatic and get more than a bit perturbed by errors in this area. Not that I don’t make them – I do – but I try to keep the errors to a minimum and make a concentrated effort to use the correct words and spellings whenever I can. But that’s beside the point.

There’s a much larger issue at play these days, something that’s way beyond this particular blogger. The issue of kids and their general literacy is one with which we should all be concerned.


The Spelling and Grammar Fairies Are Sleeping.

This is clearly the case as the uptake of mobile phone adoption and text messaging continues to increase by younger and younger children. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m still shocked by the fact that kids as young as six and seven are toting cell phones and texting like it’s the norm. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, sadly, and increasingly it looks like this trend is here to stay. But that’s another story.

Image courtesy of http://www.hotgurgaon.com

Getting back to the topic at hand, there does seem to be a relationship, between the increase in using short-form spelling like what is commonly used via text-messaging and the ability to properly spell and understand language and grammar. As a parent, I’m concerned. Concerned that there will need to be a more concentrated effort in teaching my younger children the importance of knowing how to spell, write and communicate effectively and correctly. About the fact that the use of proper grammar is extremely important in the real world, especially when one goes out to seek a job and start a career. As much as kids these days think it’s alright to abbreviate words in their texts, online and increasingly their written correspondence, it is not. If one is not able to articulate their positions intelligently, grammatically correctly, and spelled properly, they will lose out on not only future opportunities but so much more.


Those who are able to convey their thoughts coherently have a much better chance at getting into college or university, which we all know will help them with a leg up in this increasingly competitive world. For kids to grow into contributing adults who hold down responsible jobs and careers, they must be able to spell. It’s as simple as that. Putting a sentence together is a basic skill, and sadly it’s being lost. 


So that being said, I do feel pressure to perhaps underscore the importance of reading, spelling and grammar in general to my younger kids, more so than I would have, if there SMS messaging was not the norm. How successful will I be? Well, time will tell, I guess.

For more on this topic, check out my blog series Parenting in the Digital Age:

Blog Series – Parenting in the Digital Age

Parenting in the Digital Age – The Medium is the Message

Parenting in the Digital Age – Technology in the Classroom: Part 1

Parenting in the Digital Age – Technology in the Classroom: Part 2

Parenting in the Digital Age – Gaming Includes interview with Technology Expert Marc Saltzman


How about you? Are you concerned about the ability of children in general to spell and use grammar correctly? How can parents overcome the tendency of kids to use short-form spelling and incorrect grammar in their daily lives?


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