Many Teens Use Internet Slang in Schoolwork

April 28, 2008 06:16 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A new study found that that two-thirds of U.S. teenagers use Internet writing shortcuts, such as emoticons and informal abbreviations, in their written schoolwork.

30-Second Summary

The study’s results alarmed some educators, but the discovery that 64 percent of teens use emoticons in their writing is a “teachable moment,” according to researcher Amanda Lenhart at the Pew Internet and American Life Project, who sees an opportunity to teach the differences between formal and informal writing.

Students who blogged or participated in social networking sites were more likely use informal language in school assignments, but 73 percent did not see e-communication as “real writing” and said it had “no impact” on their schoolwork.

But many students said they “accidentally” use internet shortcuts such as emoticons, or symbols like “:)” for “smile,” and common abbreviations, such as “LOL” for “laugh out loud.”

No surprise to Internet browsers: the study also found that students who blog are doing a lot of writing. The bloggers also saw good writing skills as “essential to their future success.”

Just as Internet writing styles are entering written schoolwork, many teachers are using Internet technologies in their classrooms. Blogs in Education describes student blogs used for classroom activities such as reflective writing, science journals and group discussions.

But e-communication of all kinds has its hazards and advantages. A wave of injuries to people “texting while walking” has inspired one British company to offer a video on the dangers of combining strolling with sending text messages. And to avoid offending others while messaging, Yale University’s library offers a “Netiquette” Web page.

Headline Links: Internet writing styles affecting teens’ schoolwork

Opinion & Analysis: Is electronic communication “writing?”

Related Links: Electronic teaching, safety and netiquette


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